Former Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay officially broke his silence on the handling of the racist texts by police officers made public this spring. The uncovering of the texts led to an impromptu press conference with the Wichita Mayor and City Council adamantly denouncing the text and proclaiming they didn’t reflect the values of the city.
City Manager Bob Layton, standing in front of the council, proclaimed he was only made aware of the year-old text a few weeks before they became public. He pledged to get to the bottom of why stronger disciplinary action hadn’t been handed out to the 12 Wichita Police Officers who participated in the text thread.
Within weeks, the Manager appointed an internal review committee to look into the process and practices that led to the officers receiving counseling instead of discipline. The committee conducted a brief review and, in a few weeks, released an inconclusive report that made few if any recommendation for improvements, including failing to recommend disciplinary action against the officers.
The next step, as outlined by Layton, was to hire an outside consultant to take a deeper look into the culture of the Wichita Police Department and make recommendations for improvement.
Ramsay, through contact with the media, had continually insinuated the City Manager had been less than forthright in his original comments, and implied Layton knew more and knew earlier about the texts. In a May 17 letter to the Mayor and City Council Ramsay stated clearly the Manager knew about the racists text and that what was going. He went on to firmly plant blame for years of leniency on police officer misconduct on City Human Resources Director Chris Bezruki.
“I hope you see in light of the recent texting case, there is more going on here than meets the eye,” wrote Ramsay.
He called the city’s drafted proposal for an outside consultant a decoy, saying “the stated purpose differs from the real purpose. The real purpose is to distract attention from the inappropriate interference of the Human Resources Director in the disciplinary system of the WPD.”
Ramsay says he had talked with Layton about the “inappropriate and unethical involvement [by Bezruki] in police discipline cases many times. He also indicated he had little faith in the ability of any outside report to give a fair and unbiased analysis of WPD if Layton is in charge.
“I have witnessed past requests for information manipulated, information left out and consultant reports changed to fit the requested narrative.”
Ramsay’s recommendation for an honest and fair review of WPD is that the consultants report directly to the mayor and council and not Layton.