Another brutality complaint has surfaced involving Police Chief Daniel Wilson of the Veterans Administration medical center in Cincinnati. A policewoman has accused Wilson of roughing her up while he was a detective assigned to the VA medical center in Dallas three years ago.
We recently reported that two of Wilson's officers in Cincinnati alleged that Wilson beat up veterans and beggars who were caught panhandling in the hospital lobby. The two accusers in that case were fired; Wilson remains chief of the Cincinnati facility's police force.
Now our associate Stewart Harris has obtained an affidavit and a congressional memo describing the earlier episode in Dallas on Sept. 24, 1984.
"In that incident," said a staff memo to Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.), "Chief Wilson jumped a female VA officer in the dark and held the officer at gunpoint (the officer was unaware that the gun was not real) and then 'roughed her up' when she struggled."
The affidavit was signed by the female officer about a month after the incident. The memo to Schroeder is based on a recent meeting of her staff and officials of the Office of Special Counsel, which is investigating the firing of the two Cincinnati officers who accused Wilson of brutality.
Special Counsel officials at first told Schroeder's staff that the Dallas incident was merely part of a "training exercise." But they later conceded that the incident showed "poor judgment."
Wilson told us that the "roughing up" incident was reviewed by regional VA officials and found to be a proper training exercise. The female officer had been hired a few months earlier. The problem, he said, arose from her perception of the exercise.
The female resigned three weeks later. She could not be reached for comment.
Her affidavit describes in vivid detail how Wilson, disguised in a wig, pushed the barrel of a gun against the side of her head and said, "I'm going to kill you," as he dragged her down a flight of stairs. The episode ended when two other VA officers grabbed Wilson and his wig fell off.
Schroeder is chairman of the Post Office and Civil Service subcommittee with oversight of the Special Counsel. She is convinced the office is not conducting a proper investigation and said the two Cincinnati officers should have been reinstated.
Wilson said he can't discuss the complaints against him until the Special Counsel's investigation is complete. "The real story is what myself and my officers have endured in the past year," he said. The chief also wondered aloud why Schroeder was so interested in his case, and noted that she is pushing legislation to protect whistle-blowers.
The Schroeder staff memo discloses that an FBI agent investigating the Cincinnati allegations recommended that Wilson be prosecuted, but the Justice Department declined to do so. The memo said the Office of Special Counsel challenged the conclusion of the FBI investigation and questioned the motives, allegations, witnesses and evidence provided by one of Wilson's accusers in Cincinnati.
Asked for comment, the Office of Special Counsel said the "concerted efforts . . . to denigrate" the office "and to prejudice the outcome of the investigation" are unprecedented.