On September 22nd, 2011 City of White Plains police officer Michael Hannon was assaulted by Assistant Chief Anne Fitzsimmons when she took a heavy chair on wells and “forcefully shoved it” into the back of Hannon’s adjacent chair! The impact Hannon caused Hannon’s chest to slam into his computer console, causing injuries to his back, neck, as well as psychological, and emotional stress disorders. Permanently injured from the attack and unable to work, he was unjustly forced to resign from the department by those who caused his misfortune in June of 2017.
In November of 2016, the then former White Plains police officer Michael Hannon, decided to fight the injustice when he shocked the conscious and spoke out against his own department in regards to the numerous policy and procedure violations committed by officers involved in the shooting death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. Also challenging the lack of action by local clergy, Common Counsel, and black officers within the department. “Like Colin Kaepernick (former NFL quarterback), I strongly believe there is collusion taking place between the City of White Plains and its police department, which is preventing me from receiving a disability pension from the New York State retirement board.”
To say that former Officer Hannon is getting a raw deal is a huge understatement. He has been let down by those he served and by those he served with. The Thin Blue Line has been a Thin Blue Lie against him.
On March 2nd of 2017, Hannon was notified via a certified letter that he was being terminated by The City under Article Seventy-One of the Civil Service Law. The letter contained the names of the Mayor and department heads stating that his 207C status which protects injured police officers injured in the line of duty from termination, had somehow expired. Hannon had been receiving 207C benefits and pay from the city since being injured in September 2011 until March 2, 2017. Then suddenly, and without warning, he was notified by The PBA Attorney that he must re-apply as stipulated by the new union contract, which had been ratified by the Common Council in 2015. Unbelievably, Hannon was never contacted by the WPPBA, Union Attorney, Commissioners Office, or Chief that such a critical change would affect his status. Moreover, the sole contact Hannon received regarding the change had been from then WPPA President, Robert Riley, who specifically informed him (before the membership voted) that since his injury occurred before June 2012, his status would be “grandfathered in,” thereby protecting Hannon from the new change in the contract.
However, the newly ratified contract, apparently, proffered the Chief of Police, then Anne Fitzsimmons, the discretion to determine who would receive 207c benefits! This change effectively put the person who had assaulted and permanently injured Hannon the power to decide if “he was injured while working!”
Attorney Warren Roth contacted Hannon in May of 2017 suggested that they meet and stated that “he could help him.” Hannon had reservations about meeting with Roth because it was widely rumored that Roth was in alliance with the City. “I remember a PBA meeting in 2012 when Warren told the assemblage not to accept any deal taking away 207c protection. But the union had done just that.”
Now, at the meeting, Roth presented Hannon with a one-sided “stipulation” agreement. He claimed that the City would allow him to resign if he gave away thousands of dollars in accumulated vacation time, attendance incentives, and agreed not to sue for his 207c rights.
Hannon was also present in Roth’s office during a conference call between the attorney and the City’s Corporate Counsel. He heard the city’s attorney Doreen state “yes if he (Hannon) doesn’t sign it, Commissioner Bradley will terminate him! Bradley wants to move on from all of this.” Michael says he didn’t want to sign the agreement; “I was confused and trusted no one. They gave me three days to make a decision and I thought it is better to resign than be terminated!” “Roth was adamant that I sign the stipulation, insisting that there was generic language in the agreement that the City and Department would cooperate with me in obtaining my disability pension. Warren said just sign it; I’ll have you out (retired with a pension) by October (2018). So, I signed.” Now, over two years later, Hannon is still without his pension which places an enormous financial burden and stress on him and his family.
Hannon insisted upon language in the agreement forbidding White Plains from attempting to hinder, in any manner, his efforts to receive his pension. The problematic issue appears to be documented in which police administrators (internal affairs) sent to Albany “prior” to the stipulation being signed. Hannon suspects correspondence, between Department Administrators and Deputy Comptrollers, was most likely made to stonewall his attempts. He has seen retired Chief Anne Fitzsimmons’ name on many of the documents the department forwarded to Albany. “The Commissioners Office allowed her to have access to my files; again, the person who assaulted and injured me, possibly, played a role in my attempts to receive my pension.”
Officer Mike, as he is known by family and friends, has “good reason to feel the way he does.” During the first pension hearing on October 16, 2018, the opposing attorney stated: “that Hannon case file contained over fifteen hundred documents of medical evidence!” There have been murder cases that don’t have that amount of documentation. Hannon recalls “yet my doctor was deposed for over ninety minutes, arguing that being assaulted with a chair, threatened by a superior officer, and suffering lifelong physical injuries could not cause a psychological stress disorder. During most of the hearing, Warren was working on his laptop and taking calls from other clients. The man hasn’t done a thing he committed to”.
A second hearing was scheduled for June 20, 2019. Hannon believes “Roth’s lack of effort to get a hearing scheduled in a timely manner caused the nine months delay.” As he was parking to attend the hearing, Roth called and told him that, “The Honorable Mark Fitzmaurice, who is the brother of Former WP Police IAD Lieutenant Michael Fitzmaurice, was assigned as the hearing officer for that day.” Hannon a year prior had Roth request that the state removes Fitzmaurice from the case due to conflict of interest and the almost familial relationship between Fitzsimmons, Michael Fitzmaurice, and James Bradley. The State obliged; however, Mark Fitzmaurice, the recused judge, happened to be sitting there that day. The State’s excuse was that the assigned hearing officer was unable to attend and it was an oversight. NYS vowed to schedule the next hearing, now a third in a timely manner. At the time of this article, (September) no hearing had been scheduled. Again, Hannon feels that “the powers that be” are at work to sabotage him.
When asked about union support Hannon stated: “that the WPPBA was a non-factor.” Comparatively, in 2012 the union paid former officer Steven Hart’s mortgage for months and were planning a 10-13 (benefit) party for him while he was suspended, and eventually terminated by The City for allegedly saying the N-Word during the shooting death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
During his seventeen-year career, Hannon recalls numerous occasions when collections were taken up to help out white officers during times of need. Such benevolent acts were rarely extended to minority officers. Hannon could recall just one during his tenure.
“When a Hispanic officer and I were fired due to injuries sustained in the line of duty, our fellow officers did nothing for our families. We didn’t even get our Union sendoff money (approximately $7500.00) from the PBA. White Plains officers have received disability pensions in the past some who weren’t nearly as incapacitated as we are.”
“There is a retired Inspector of the department who is receiving a disability pension. Edward is employed by the City as a supervisor in the parking authority; therefore, collecting BOTH a disability pension and salary from The City of White Plains.” Commissioners Chong and Bradley turned a blind eye for white officers Riley and Parlow who stole money from the union, instead of allowing them to repay the money, retire and receive their pensions. “Chong stood by and allowed Bradley to conduct a personal vendetta against me, using Article 71 to camouflage his maliciousness. Showing privilege to some while casting off others.” It would appear that the White Plains Police department has treatment discrepancies between officers who may need an examination?
“When I pray, I pray that James Bradley, Anne Fitzsimmons, and those they influenced won’t hurt me any further, or anyone else like this ever again.” Anne retired in June, and Bradley is out with a serious medical ailment. Hannon says that he prays that Commissioner Chong, newly promoted Chief Joseph Castelli—who is familiar will all circumstances—will right the wrongs Bradley and Fitzsimmons did to him almost eight years ago. “YES I’m still fighting this. The Mistress of the plantation, instead of using a whip, used a chair, but the scars on my back are still the same.”