MADISON, WISC. (CN) – After three years on paid leave, during which he collected nearly $250,000 in salary and benefits, Madison Police Officer Michael Grogan has appealed his firing for unlawful conduct and untruthfulness: Grogan allegedly drove his car into a ditch, broke into a neighbor’s home and passed out on the living room floor.
In the initial complaint, Police Chief Noble Wray described Grogan’s eventful night in this way:
Grogan crashed his 2003 Toyota Corolla around 2 a.m. while off duty in December 2004. Grogan’s wife said that they had been drinking at a wedding that night and had returned home around 1 a.m. She wasn’t aware that he had left again.
Several witnesses reported hearing Grogan spinning his tires for about an hour. Unable to get out of the ditch, he went to a neighbor’s home, rang the doorbell and said, “I’m freezing my balls off. Can I come into your house? I’m freezing my fuckin’ balls off.”
The couple did not let him in, but offered to call the police, to which Grogan responded, “No, that’s OK.”
Other neighbors found Grogan passed out on their living room floor around 7 a.m. Their door had been kicked in. When an occupant asked Grogan why he was in the house, he allegedly said, “This is my home.”
After being caught in another neighbor’s yard, Grogan ran into the woods, but eventually surrendered to Waukesha County Sheriff’s Deputies. He was identified by the residents of the home where he slept the night before and the deputies said there was “no doubt he was intoxicated.”
Grogan, who collected more than $250,000 in salary and benefits during his suspension, claims he suffered a head injury during the one-car collision, which impaired his memory and affected his ability to recount incidents before and after the crash.
Twenty months later, Grogan was cited for obstructing an officer when he failed to cooperate after he allegedly fled a Kwik Trip service station without paying for gas. He evaded several calls from a Waukesha County Sheriff’s Deputy; his wife had to go back to the store to pay his bill and he failed to report the incident, Wray wrote.
It is unclear whether Grogan believes that his head injury was still affecting his memory.
In a letter submitted before Chief Wray’s complaint was filed, and in recent interviews, Grogan claims he was disciplined unfairly and discriminatorily, and that other, similarly situated officers have not been disciplined in the same manner.
(In fairness to Chief Wray, it might be difficult to find other officers in a similar situation.)
Here is Grogan’s appeal letter to Chief Wray.