SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WJBK) - Southgate has appointed a new police chief but concerns are being raised about the officer in line for the job.
An assault in his past has some questioning the promotion of Brian Klonowski.
The last time Klonowski was in the news, he was convicted of severely beating a woman at a party.
It's an issue he says was so far in the past, it's no longer relevant.
This is the face of the woman Brian Klonowski beat in 2004. They had just met at a party when she says, she turned down his advances. Then she says the officer yanked her into the ground from a chair, punching her until her eye hemorrhaged and her nose and her cheekbone broke.
He was convicted with assault after pleading no contest, he was suspended without pay from the Southgate Police Department for one year. Although the city brought him back to work after only three months.
He says he's changed.
"I understand the unfortunate circumstances and embarrassing situation," he said. "It was 12 years ago. I dealt with that on three levels - criminally, civilly and departmentally and have attempted to put that behind me and have attempted to increase my professionalism."
The lieutenant was appointed chief by the mayor and city council Wednesday night. He will start after a swearing in ceremony August 27. He says in the past years he's attended law school, risen in the ranks, and he is ready for his new role.
"I believe every incident that can be negative and embarrassing, you reflect upon it," Klonowski said. "And use that to improve parts about yourself."
City officials say of the several internal candidates, Klonowski came in first in a third-party written and oral exam. The mayor and city council members approved his new contract and say he's the best man for the job.
"Nobody condones what he did, but everybody says what he did, he paid the price for," said John Zech, city administrator. "He's learned from it, he's apologized for it, he's gone forward and shown that it was something that happened one time and never happened again."
For anyone who has any doubt, Klonowski says, he's willing to talk with them.
"My door as a chief will be open," he said. "I have no problem speaking with citizens and giving them the chance to get to know me and trust me. I know I have some reputation to rebuild still, and I will be glad to do that."
At the time he served 18 months probation but no jail time.
The victim who was beaten by the newly appointed chief, along with her family, say they are sickened by this decision. This woman says she's moved on, and did not want to go on camera out of fear of any further police harassment.