LPD officer resigns following complaint

Published 10:00 am Saturday, February 6, 2021

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A LaGrange police officer recently resigned after a local resident said he was profiled and harassed by the officer.

Terrance Rimpson said that while outside of The Lofts Apartment Christian Zubernis, who was working as a courtesy officer for the complex, approached him and his brother with the property manager.

“[The property manager] and Christian walk up to us and said that this was a no drug property,” Rimpson said. “Christian starts talking to us saying, ‘If I start by smelling marijuana or anything like that, I am going to start writing tickets and taking people to jail.”

Rimpson said that they had just moved in to the building and had no problems up to that point. He noted that neither him or his brother smoke weed or do drugs.

“I felt like I was being harassed and racially profiled by Christian and [the property manager],” Rimpson said. “It’s not right. I work hard, and we have jobs. We drive nice cars and everything, but we work hard for money and own businesses.”

Rimpson said he called LPD to inform them shortly after.

“Prior to this incident, I, as, the supervisor commanding officer for patrol had some issues relevant to the officer performance and conduct on duty,” said Capt. Mike Pheil. “I was addressing that with him, and he elected to resign. We had performance issues, but that’s outside of this complaint and that was being handled by our Office of Professional Standards.”

Pheil said LPD received an official complaint from two residents of The Lofts Apartment that Zubernis was harassing them individually. 

“The exchange he had with them was non-consistent with our standards,” Chief Lou Dekmar said. “It was non-consistent with LPD standards as it relates to the professional exchange that we expect our folks to have with people. I just didn’t find some of his comments consistent with our professional standard.”

Dekmar also said that Zubernis violated the body-camera policy that officers must wear when interacting with people during an incident.