Assistant chief suspended as he fights cancer



LOCUST GROVE, Ga. - The assistant police chief in Locust Grove is the focus of a hearing, fighting a one-week suspension at the same time he's fighting liver cancer.

"When I was really, really sick back in June, I could barely walk and everything else, but one of the things that kept me going was knowing I could go back to work," Locust Grove Assistant Police Chief Ken Swanson told Channel 2's Mark Winne.

Swanson said for about two weeks he only set foot in the Police Department's lobby once because in the midst of fighting liver cancer, he was suspended two weeks without pay.

"My diagnosis is stage-3 liver cancer," Swanson said. "It hurts bad. My record was spotless before this."

Winne obtained a memo that said Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price and the city council voted to suspend Swanson, allegedly involving the use of a photo to intimidate an employee.

Swanson said on his computer he had a photo, taken by another officer, of a city official's personal car getting worked on in the city garage, all part of a local controversy back in 2011.

"Why now?" Winne asked Swanson.

"I don't know Mark. I don't know," Swanson replied.

Swanson said the other allegation involved removing computers, as directed by the now-former mayor, from a city-owned house rented by a city worker which also, inexplicably, goes back to 2011.

"Did you do anything wrong?" Winne asked Swanson.

"No, I did not," Swanson said.

"I'm stunned that they've allowed this to happen. This man's been with the department over 20 years," attorney Lee Sexton told Winne.

"It's heartbreaking," private investigator T.J. Ward said.

Winne asked Swanson how the suspension has impacted him.

"My insurance, my bills. I mean, I need this job," Swanson said.

Winne tried asking the mayor about the allegation and he said he could not answer any questions on a pending investigation. The city manager referred Winne to the city attorney.

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