Circus-like meeting in Colwyn after Tasing incident

Colwyn acting Police Chief Wendell Reed (at lectern) was reinstated by a vote of Borough Council on Thursday after being suspended with two other officers. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Colwyn acting Police Chief Wendell Reed (at lectern) was reinstated by a vote of Borough Council on Thursday after being suspended with two other officers. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Posted: May 04, 2012

TEN MINUTES into a Colwyn Borough Council meeting Thursday night, the mayor and council president were arguing and residents were yelling, prompting a man to cover his face with his baby to hide his laughter.

“Bring out the playpen and rattles, here we go,” one resident said under his breath.

For the official business of the raucous meeting, the council rescinded the mayor’s state of emergency and reinstated a controversial police supervisor who remains under investigation for an alleged Tasering incident involving a juvenile who allegedly was handcuffed in a holding cell.

This was the first public meeting since the acting head of the Colwyn Police Department, Deputy Chief Wendell Reed, and two other officers were placed on leave pending an investigation into the possible coverup of the April 24 incident.

Wednesday night, in response to the mayor’s placing those men on leave, council voted to place Lt. Wesley Seitz, who they believed was the whistle-blower for the incident, on leave as well. Mayor Daniel Rutland then declared a state of emergency so that he could reinstate Seitz. But Thursday night, council overrode Rutland’s decision and lifted the state of emergency, placed Seitz back on leave and reinstated Reed.

Reed, who attended Thursday night’s meeting, almost seemed privy to the motion. Immediately after the vote, he approached the podium, read the definition of “cause” from Webster’s Dictionary and told the mayor he wanted his gun, badge and keys to the police department back.

As Reed left the meeting, a resident expressed her displeasure with his reinstatement.

“Well, move,” he told her.

Rutland continuously sparred with Council President Tonette Pray. One woman, Kimberly Brown, was forcibly removed by police because she refused to stop addressing council.

Afterward, Reed called council’s decision “righteous” and termed the situation “a big myriad of mess.”

Contact Stephanie Farr at 215-854-4225 or farrs@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @FarFarrAway.

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