As of Thursday afternoon there was still nothing but silence from the Kodiak Police Department and Kodiak City Hall over allegations that three Kodiak Police officers used excessive force during an encounter with 28-year-old Nick Pletnikoff over a week ago. In the meantime, a letter with links to official state and federal complaint procedures have shown up in some local mailboxes.
Pletnikoff, who is autistic, was, according to eye-witness reports, swarmed by three officers, pinned to the ground, handcuffed and pepper-sprayed on the evening of September 16th as he was checking the mailbox on his street. His mother, who found him minutes later, bloodied, bruised and still handcuffed, said she was told by the officers that their actions were because her son would not answer their questions. A statement five days later, ostensibly from the police chief, said the force officers used was, quote, “minimal and necessary.”
Because of the silence from the city and its refusal to release audio and video recordings of the incident, patience is wearing thin among Kodiak citizens, with many people offering different theories on Kodiak Facebook pages as to what could be causing the delay.
Facebook has been important in getting the word out about Pletnikoff’s assault. The activity blotter that the Kodiak Police Department distributes to the press simply referred to the incident with Pletnikoff as, quote, “Suspicious Circumstance, all OK,” unquote. The injuries to Nick Pletnikoff may have remained unknown except for a few people on Steller Way if not for an eyewitness who posted what he saw to Facebook.
KMXT received a letter today (Thursday) from a “concerned citizen,” who wished to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation from the KPD. The letter expressed concern over how the department has handled the Pletnikoff situation, and reminded citizens that KPD officers are responsible not only to the chief and the city manager, but also to the elected officials and ultimately every citizen of Kodiak.
The writer suggested an independent outside investigation into the Kodiak Police Department was necessary because of the loss of public trust in the department. The letter supplied a link to a U.S. Department of Justice web page about local police misconduct.
Also included were copies of the Alaska Police Standards Council Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and the council’s complaint form, with web links to both.
Those links are pasted below.