5. TESTIMONY OF ROBERT SUSI

THE CLERK: Please state your name and spell your last name, please.

THE WITNESS: Robert Susi, S-U-S-I.

THE CLERK: Do you swear the testimony you shall give in the cause now in hearing shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

THE WITNESS: I do.

THE CLERK: Please be seated.

ROBERT SUSI, called by the Plaintiffs, having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

DIRECT EXAMINATION

BY MR. COLES:

Q. Mr. Susi, what is your occupation?

A. Falmouth police officer.

Q. How long have you been a Falmouth police officer?

A. Since 1989.

Q. What is your relationship to the Falmouth School Department as a Falmouth police officer?

A. I was assigned as a school resource officer in 2002, I believe.

Q. Is it fair to say that as a Falmouth police officer with connections to the school department, if the school department has a problem, they call you?

A. Correct.

Q. You're the police liaison person that deals with the school department?

A. Correct.

Q. On December 1st, 2003, did you have a telephone conversation with School Superintendent Tim McCormack?

A. Yes.

Q. Did that result in a Falmouth PD follow-up report?

A. Yes.

Q. I want to show you what has been marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 20 and ask you if that is a copy of your report.

THE COURT: What was the date of that conversation again, please?

MR. COLES: December 1st, 2003.

THE WITNESS: Yes, this is a copy of my report.

MR. COLES: Move to introduce Exhibit 20.

MS. HEWEY: No objection.

THE COURT: Thank you. It is admitted

BY MR. COLES:

Q. You received a phone call from Tim McCormack?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Okay. He told you he was having problems at the Plummer School?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he tell you that he was having problems with Jan Rankowski and his mother?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he tell what you kind of problems he was having with Gayle Fitzpatrick, the mother?

A. I do not recall specifically what the problems were.

Q. You understood that the child was being home-schooled?

A. Yes.

Q. December 1st, did Tim McCormack ask you to intervene as a policeman with the family?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you have a conversation with the Rankowski family?

A. Yes.

Q. Who did you speak to?

A. I believe I spoke to Mr. Rankowski.

Q. Did you tell Mr. Rankowski that, if you were informed by the Falmouth Police Department that there was a problem at the Plummer School, you would go down, make arrests, put someone in handcuffs and put them in a cruiser?

A. No.

Q. You never said that?

A. No. I said that if the school department -- my conversation with Mr. Rankowski was to get him to have a meeting, sit-down meeting with Mr. McCormack, the Superintendent of Schools, and Barbara Powers, the principal.

Q. What I'm asking you, do you recall a conversation of coming down and making arrests and putting someone in a cruiser?

A. I did explain to Mr. Rankowski the criminal trespass procedure and what would happen if that law was violated.

Q. Would you please tell the Court what the criminal procedure discussion was that you instructed Mr. Rankowski on that date -- a lousy question. Let me rephrase it.
Would you tell the Court what you told Mr. Rankowski as to the criminal trespass statute, if he showed up with his child in school?

A. When I -- when I spoke with Mr. Rankowski, I explained to him what the criminal trespass procedure was; that if the school were to notify us that there was someone down there who was interfering with the safety or usefulness of the school and they wanted than to leave the school grounds during the school day, Mr. McCormack would notify me, I would go down and speak with the individuals and ask them to please leave. And if they refused to leave then I would give than a lawful order as a police officer to leave the school grounds. If they still refused then I would go ahead and charge them with criminal trespass. If they still refused to leave then I would go ahead and make an arrest and take them to the Cumberland County Jail.

Q. Handcuff people, put them in the back of the cruiser and take them to the jail?

A. Yes. That came after Mr. Rankowski, I believe, made some comments to the effect of that his wife would want to play the martyr and not-go with the school's meaning and want to push the envelope and take this to the fullest extent of the law.

Q. Right. In the event that you went down to make an arrest of a parent, did you anticipate what would happen to the nine-year-old autistic child when an arrest was made?

A. Did I anticipate this at that time?

Q. Yes.

A. It would follow normal operating procedure for the police department. If you arrest someone and there is any person who needs care, from an infant to whatever, then we would notify the Department of Human Services so Human Services would take this child, put this child in foster care.

Q. While you're busy arresting a parent?

MS. HEWEY: Objection.

THE COURT: Sustained.

THE WITNESS: Sir, I have no idea.

BY MR. COLES:

Q. I want to show you what has been marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 21, ask you if you have ever seen that.

A. Me, personally, no.

Q. Has anyone in your department to your knowledge seen that?

MS. HEWEY: Objection.

THE COURT: Sustained.

BY MR. COLES:

Q. Are you aware that Gayle Fitzpatrick, the mother, last fall brought an autism checklist for law enforcement, emergency, medical, fire, rescue personnel, a questionnaire and a photograph of her son in the event that her child ran away? Are you aware of that?

A. I am not.

Q. Are you aware today that the June 7th letter has been received by the Falmouth Police Department?

A. I'm sorry, a letter -- this -- was I aware that this letter was received? I have no idea.

Q. Has anyone at the Falmouth Police Department discussed with you what to do with Jan Rankowski because he is autistic?

A. Sir, I have been out of work since May 14th.

Q. I understand you have been on sick leave.

A. So I have no idea what they have done since June 7th.

MR. COLES: I have nothing further.

THE COURT: Thank you. Attorney Hewey?

MS. HEWEY: I have no questions.

THE COURT: Thank you. Thank you, Officer.

MR. COLES: I have one final quick witness, your Honor.

THE COURT: Sure.

MR. COLES: Thank you. (Pause.)

(Whereupon, Charles Rankowski, being present in the courtroom, took the witness stand.)

 

Reported by: Timothy Thompson, RMR, CRR Official Court Reporter

(This transcript was scanned from a certified copy of the original and converted to text using OmniPage Pro 14.)

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