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Detroit mayor says ousted chief `blindsided' him

FILE-In this July 6, 2009 file photo, Warren Evans speaks at a news conference held to announce his appointment as Detroit's new Police Chief as Mayor Dave Bing, left, listens at the mayor's office in Detroit. Evans resigned from his post Wednesday, July 21, 2010 after just over a year on the job. Mayor Bing's office did not offer a reason for Evans' resignation in the brief statement it issued Wednesday announcing the surprise change. FILE-In this July 6, 2009 file photo, Warren Evans speaks at a news conference held to announce his appointment as Detroit's new Police Chief as Mayor Dave Bing, left, listens at the mayor's office in Detroit. Evans resigned from his post Wednesday, July 21, 2010 after just over a year on the job. Mayor Bing's office did not offer a reason for Evans' resignation in the brief statement it issued Wednesday announcing the surprise change. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
By David N. Goodman
Associated Press Writer / July 22, 2010

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DETROIT—Detroit's mayor said Thursday that he fired the city's police chief after he was "blindsided" by his role in two reality television shows and his romantic relationship with a fellow police officer.

Mayor Dave Bing's comments came a day after he fired Chief Warren Evans -- one year after he was hired for the job.

On his Facebook page, Evans, 61, lashed out at critics, saying he didn't understand the problem with a video promoting a reality show in which he would star.

"I don't get the big fuss! It's a producers product," he said in the Facebook post. "If the City doesn't like it there won't be a series Period! Does someone want to believe the streets aren't like that? LOL"

Bing acknowledged for the first time Thursday that the promotional video was a factor in his decision to fire Evans. The video for a proposed reality show called "The Chief" includes footage of Evans posing with an assault rifle outside a vacant city train station, patrolling and making arrests.

Bing had banned reality TV cameras from following officers after a 7-year-old girl was killed during a police raid in May, though the promotional video appears to have been shot over the winter.

In the botched May raid, a special response team was searching for a man wanted in an earlier killing. It was documented by a camera crew for A&E's reality television show "The First 48." Bing didn't know Evans had approved a contract with the show, which had followed Detroit police and homicide investigators for several months.

Bing, who initially declined to elaborate on his reasons for firing the chief on Wednesday, said Thursday that along with the promotional video and "The First 48" contract, Evans' relationship with Lt. Monique Patterson also led him to fire the chief. Evans has been public about their relationship, and police have no policy against officers dating each other.

"We know the tease, the A&E, there were personnel issues, all of that," Bing said during an impromptu news conference.

"It wasn't easy. It was my choice. I don't just get rid of people," Bing said. "I was upset, No. 1, because of being blindsided by it."

The Associated Press left messages for Evans seeking comment.

On his Facebook page, he also addressed his relationship with Patterson, who appears with Evans in the profile photo of his page.

"It's a shame when its problematic for two single adults to date," Evans said in a Facebook posting. "Shame on me for not hiding it! Or being married with a girlfriend on the job like so many others."

Among the grounds Bing cited for firing Evans, the relationship with Patterson presents the most serious concerns, said University of Michigan ethicist John R. Chamberlin.

When the chief dates a lieutenant, "anyone between them in the chain of command is implicated," said Chamberlin, a professor of public policy and director of the Center for Ethics in Public Life.

Evans should have talked with Bing about the issue and tried to work out a solution, such as transferring Patterson to duties outside the police command structure, Chamberlin said.

The last thing the chief should have done was to set up Detroit for more bad publicity, Chamberlin said.

"We don't need one more thing that's going to be on the front page," he said.

Jack Rinchich, president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, had a different view, saying an officer shouldn't be faulted for a personal matter that isn't covered by department policy.

"If you don't have any rules, how do you know you're stepping out of line?" asked Rinchich, safety director at the University of Charleston in West Virginia.

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