When a cop in Ohio spotted the car of his daughter’s boyfriend, he turned the unwarranted traffic stop into threats of jail time for the driver, costly fines for a passenger and a warning to a mother not to call 911.
Dashcam footage of the traffic stop was obtained this week by The Chronicle Telegram. It was reportedly filmed on April 16 in Lorain, about 30 miles west of Cleveland.
The nearly 10-minute video shows John Kovach Jr., a 26-year veteran of the Lorain Police Department, pulling over 18-year-old Makai Coleman.
“You can get out,” Kovach tells Coleman. “You’re going to jail. Get out.”
When Coleman asks for an explanation, Kovach replies, “Go have a seat in my car. We’ll make shit up as we go.”
It soon becomes clear Kovach is trying to locate his 18-year-old daughter. She had been dating Coleman and had apparently been at odds with her father.
At one point, Gloria Morales, the mother of two unidentified passengers in Coleman’s vehicle, can be seen in the video approaching the scene. When she does, Kovach argues with her about whether his daughter is in her nearby house.
“If I check and you’re lying to me, you’re going to jail,” Kovach says. When Morales tells him she’s going to call 911, he threatens to arrest her for making a non-emergency call.
According to Cleveland’s WJW News, Kovach had traced his daughter’s computer to the neighborhood.
It’s not until Kovach argues with one of Morales’ children inside Coleman’s car, accusing her of not wearing a seatbelt and threatening her with a fine, that he discovers his daughter had been in the vehicle the entire time. He orders her out of the car and into the back of his patrol car.
After letting everyone else go, Kovach pushes his daughter into the back seat of his patrol car. The two can be heard arguing as he forces her to stay inside the car and tells her he thinks she’s suicidal and is taking her to a hospital.
Morales reported the incident to police, and an officer was sent out to investigate later that day. Questioned by fellow law enforcement officers about the incident, Kovach reportedly said he didn’t think Coleman was a good person and was concerned about his daughter’s well-being.
An internal investigation found that Kovach had violated department standards by stopping Coleman’s car without cause, threatening to arrest Morales, detaining Coleman and saying he would falsify charges against him, and for failing to assist a police officer who had called for backup, according to The Chronicle.
Kovach was fired on May 11. The Morning Journal reported he is appealing his termination.