Anchorage Assembly opens investigation after blog alleged “inappropriate demands” on police chief

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Suzanne LaFrance speaks at a June 2021 committee meeting of the Anchorage Assembly. (Lex Treinen / Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage Assembly leaders are seeking information following allegations in a blog that Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration put inappropriate pressure on the police chief and obstructed water fluoridation from Anchorage.

Citing anonymous sources, the Alaska Landmine published an article on Saturday suggesting that the Bronson administration pressured the Anchorage Police Chief to order the officers to leave a combative Assembly meeting on the 7th. October. He also says the mayor’s office tried to pressure APD to enter a medical facility. in order to “rescue” a man sick with COVID “and possibly force providers to treat him with ivermectin. The post also alleges that the mayor cut off fluoride in city water during a visit to the Anchorage water and wastewater plant.

Landmine claimed requests from the mayor’s office led Anchorage Police Chief Ken McCoy to announce he would retire after less than a year on the job.

Corey Allen Young, spokesperson for the mayor, said the events described in the blog post did not happen.

“For these three questions, the answer is that it is wrong. This did not happen, ”he wrote in an email Monday.

Assembly President Suzanne LaFrance said since the story was published on Saturday she has heard corroborating stories from other city employees.

“This is certainly a cause for concern and Assembly leaders, Assembly members take this kind of information very seriously,” she said. “And I think it’s important to stress that we are still awaiting a response from the administration.”

RELATED: Bronson sues Anchorage Assembly over right to fire stock director

Bonny Salsbery is the daughter of Dan O’Barr, who the landmine said may have been the man hospitalized with COVID-19. She said her family had never contacted the mayor’s office or asked for ivermectin. She said the family contacted Senator Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, about the hospital’s COVID-19 visitation policy, which prevented O’Barr’s wife from visiting him. Salsbery said she was not aware of any attempt to remove O’Barr from the hospital where he was staying.

Anchorage Assembly leaders on Sunday sent a request for any voicemail, email, text or other recordings relating to the three incidents to the city’s case management office and to Patrick Bergt, the district attorney for the city. He sent a separate request to Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility, requesting information about the land mine allegation and the mayor’s visits to the plant. He is also asking that all emails containing Dan O’Barr’s name sent by city employees be delivered before Tuesday’s Assembly meeting.

McCoy, Anchorage’s first black police chief, has announced he will retire in February. He didn’t give a specific reason, but said the decision came after “a lot of thought and thought.”

An earlier version of this story referred to a blogger who wrote the article on Landmine. The story was co-written by Jeff Landfield and Paxson Woelber.

This story has been updated with a comment from Assembly President Suzanne LaFrance.

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