P’town selectmen order new probe into police chief’s conduct

by Mary Ann Bragg |published in Cape Cod Times

The Board of Selectmen will hire an independent investigator to look into a May 7 incident at The Squealing Pig pub involving Police Chief Jeff Jaran and his response to an anti-police rap song own the sound system, board Chairman Austin Knight said at a Monday meeting.

Also at the meeting, Jaran described in public for the first time his version of what transpired at the pub. Jaran said he is considering his legal options based on what he said are “sustained” and factually slanted attacks against him by some.

On May 7, the night of the town election, Jaran and his girlfriend were sitting at the pub bar when a song by N.W.A about police brutality was played. The song dates from a 1988 album “Straight Outta Compton” about gang violence in Los Angeles. Jaran grew uncomfortable with the lyrics and volume, and told the bartenders to turn the song off and that they should be ashamed of themselves, he told the Times in June. Jaran and his girlfriend then left the bar.

Town Manager Sharon Lynn conducted a follow-up investigation and on June 24 told the selectmen she found no corroborating testimony about the incident to lead her to take action. But Selectmen Erik Yingling and Thomas Donegan, have since pushed for an independent review, saying Jaran overreacted, based in part on what one bartender recounted to Yingling and to the Province­town Banner newspaper.

Jaran said Monday the music was loud enough for him to consider if it violated the noise bylaw. Donegan, in an email July 8 to Knight, has alleged police later came to the bar to investigate a noise complaint.

At the next selectmen’s meeting, town counsel will bring a list of recommended independent investigators for the board to consider, Knight said Wednesday.

“The chief’s next step will be to participate and cooperate in the upcoming investigation,” Jaran’s attorney, Andrew Gambaccini, of Worcester, said Wednesday in an email to the Times. “He very much is looking forward to the vindication that we believe such an investigation will bring. It also is our hope that the investigation will begin to shed some light on some of the untoward dealings that have led to this issue festering for so long at the urging of a certain few.”