Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa. GRL’s Government Accountability Division obtained a settlement of $154,900 for an Ankeny man who was wrongfully arrested by Ankeny Police Department earlier this year. While the financial compensation was substantial for GRL’s client, it was not the most incredible part of this case.
Apologies, especially sincere apologies, simply do not happen when a citizen accuses a government entity of misconduct or violating their constitutional rights. Deflection, denial, victim-blame, and excuse-making tend to be the government’s go-to approaches to these types of cases. They never, ever admit that they were wrong. However, in this case, in a completely unexpected and unprecedented move, the City of Ankeny and the Ankeny Police Department actually apologized for GRL’s client’s wrongful arrest. Taking the concept of extreme ownership to heart, Ankeny Police Chief, Darius Potts, personally and sincerely apologized to GRL’s client for what he and his family had to endure. Chief Potts made no excuses or justifications for what happened but instead, boldly owned the mistake and explained the remedial measures that Ankeny Police Department had put into place since the mistake that lead to the wrongful arrest. Chief Potts and the City of Ankeny demonstrated remarkable leadership, integrity, and accountability.
Not every government misconduct case can end this way. In fact, we can safely label this one as a unicorn. However, it is refreshing and encouraging to witness a government entity voluntarily self-evaluate, identify a mistake, take substantive remedial action, and then accept full and unwavering accountability for an unavoidable mistake by their officers. GRL tips our hat to Chief Potts and the administration at the City of Ankeny.