Mayor Pat Branson Makes Statement on Pletnikoff Case

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Last night at the Kodiak City Council work session, mayor Pat Branson started off the meeting by reading a statement on the case of Nick Pletnikoff, an autistic 28-year-old Kodiak man who was beaten and pepper sprayed by three Kodiak police officers over a month ago.

“I understand that some members of our community are frustrated and upset by the lack of information from the city regarding the incident that occurred on September 16 involving an individual and the police. I want to take this opportunity to assure the Kodiak community that the city council, myself, and the city administration are treating this matter as one of utmost importance and are confident that the city will respond to the public’s concern and take steps to protect all citizens. We all want to know the facts and what happened.

“The city hired an independent, third party private investigator to conduct a thorough review of the details and circumstances regarding this case. While we have an obligation to be responsive to community requests, since this is a legal matter, we have a greater obligation to preserve the confidentiality of the documents and records and protect the rights of all individuals during this investigation, even if protecting the records from disclosure during the investigation results in criticism.

“Thorough investigations take time to complete. They involve policy and internal records reviews, reviews of video and audio recordings, individual interviews and compilation of findings and recommendations. Upon completion of investigation, the city will release many of the records that are currently protected from disclosure due to the current investigation.

“We request your patience and want to reiterate that we are committed to obtaining all the facts and being responsive to the community and its concerns, as well as being transparent in our governance. We also want to consider and support the men and women of our Kodiak Police Department who protect and serve our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and continue to provide for the safety of each of us.”
Several members of the community spoke up during public comments.

One of those speakers, Betty MacTavish, brought up questions about the actions following the incident and the mystery surrounding them.

“At this point the officers have not been identified. Are they on administrative leave? Have they been terminated? There’s supposed to be an independent investigation. Who’s conducting that investigation and what is their timeline? What about that pesky little freedom of information act? What steps are being taken to assure the public that this incident will not be tolerated within the culture of our city police department?”

So far, these questions remain unaddressed.
When KMXT last spoke with the Pletnikoff family’s attorney, they were considering legal action. You can find more information on the family’s response here.

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