The Morrisville Borough Council voted Monday night to fire suspended with pay Police Corporal Michael Pitcher in a 5 to 3 vote.
The motion brought up under new business by Council Vice President Robert Paul, was not on the original meeting agenda.
Monday’s vote is following by a failed attempt to fire Pitcher in February by council. The change, came in the form of former Council President Nancy Sherlock, who voted no originally, changing her vote last night to a yes last night.
Pitcher was charged last year with with unlawful use of computer, terroristic threats, official oppression and harassment, allegedly of a Lower Makefield couple.
“In bringing the motion said that goes into effect immediately “I think in light of the fact of the pandemic hitting that’s thrown a monkey wrench into the scheduling of the criminal courts. We had hoped to wait to defer our action until the courts to their action against Cpl. Pitcher. And now that that’s been delayed by ultimately what might be another year beyond what it would have been initially and because this is a case of alleged police brutality …and taking advantage of the public I think its important that we take a position, a moral position that we’re not going to condone police misconduct,” said Paul.
As of Tuesday morning Pitcher’s trial has yet to be rescheduled with the county courts reopening just weeks ago.
Bucks County Court Administrator, Stephen G. Heckman told Lower Bucks Source earlier this month he didn’t expect jury trials to start back up until sometime in August, with some exceptions.
Pitcher’s trial date on the docket says it is still scheduled for a May date.
“I wished we had done it last year” Council President Ted Parker said “its just been a stain on the police department and we need to rectify it.”
Council members Mike Yager, Eileen Dreisbach, and Justin Bowers who voted no on the motion, as they did in February, each cited legal and financial concerns in their votes against the motion.
“I don’t condone what he (Pitcher) has done. But in the long run I don’t want it to cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Dreisbach said, alluding to the potentiality of civil action by Pitcher, which was why council held off on firing him last year as the suggestion of their legal representatives.
Paul said he was willing to fire Pitcher now, considering the costs of the last 14 plus months and with what’s going on nationally in terms of protests about “police brutality” as he described it.
“I think based on the passage of time, national circumstances and our own needs with balancing our budget we should just decide to move forward and take the final step and terminate him” said Paul.
Pitcher was not charged for assault in the case against him.
In an email exchange after the meeting, Borough Manager Scott Mitchell said “council didn’t ask my opinion on the matter so I can’t really comment.”
“Michael Pitcher nearly lost his life protecting the citizens of Bucks County; to attempt to terminate his employment in this fashion-prior to any conclusion of his pending case is highly inappropriate and in my opinion unjust.”
Sherlock did not explain why she decided to vote for the firing since she voted against the motion in February.
Attempts to reach Busico for comment on his clients firing so far have been unsuccessful as of publication.
Police Chief George McClay was unavailable for comment when this story was published.
In an unrelated matter but dealing with the police department, council approved a job description for the Chief of Police position Monday night.
There was no mention with regards to an internal investigation of the department at last nights meeting.
And lastly the Department of Community and Economic Development Police Management Study of the department has recently been made available.
Lower Bucks Source acquired the 54 page document through a Right to Know request.
DCED, according to Mitchell, says it will do a public presentation for the borough once public meetings begin again.