In Japanese lore, the seven samurai defended a village of peasants against all odds.
In a way, samurai were cops, disciplined guardians of the peace willing to fight and die for what was right.
Good cops are always honest cops.
No in between exists.
That means that police officers must always tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
We’re waiting, Lenny Galli.
The Exeter Borough police sergeant and well-known macho man is no modern-day samurai.
Galli has surrounded himself for decades with controversy that is always all about Lenny rather than all about protecting and serving the people who pay his salary and pick up his benefits. For whatever the reason, over the years borough officials have settled several lawsuits against Galli, usually involving accusations stemming from his inability to control himself under pressure – with pressure being defined as anytime he strapped on his gun and badge.
Galli has never admitted wrongdoing in these events – even one involving the former head of the Scranton Secret Service office who received over $100,000 in damages in a case that Galli and borough officials wanted – but failed - to keep confidential.
Now confidentiality has come back to bite Galli and his handlers.
Borough officials have finally had their fill of Lenny, accusing him of spending official on-duty time downloading and watching thousands of hardcore porn videos on the police computer - which he also allegedly used to handle business affairs for his karate school - as well as arrange meetings with men he met in an online meat market.
Back in February borough officials suspended Galli with pay, as they tried to figure out how to handle Galli’s latest embarrassment to the borough. As always, Galli tried to play all the angles, a technique that had always worked in the past. But officials had enough and hired a Philadelphia lawyer – somebody who knew well Lenny’s kind.
Galli refused to accept any public disclosure of his alleged bad behavior and filed a complaint in Luzerne County court, showing up smiling in shades, a glitzy gold chain and a track suit that made him look like a cross between a dysfunctional Elvis bodyguard and a dull extra in a Steven Segal movie.
The Philly lawyer then publicly filed his own court document that laid bare all alleged Galli transgressions – accusations that chewed up Lenny’s macho image and spit it out.
The first Luzerne County judge to get the case grew fearful and backed out, recusing himself because he knew Galli as reason for his dereliction of duty. The second judge has now sealed all the documents – a move that smacks of cover-up and official censorship - but not until the bad genii had escaped from the bottle.
Meanwhile Exeter taxpayers suffer.
So what else is new?
Judge Bill Amesbury postponed the hearing that was scheduled for today until June. Unless borough officials change the conditions of Galli’s suspension, and they should, Galli will likely continue to pick up his paycheck. And taxpayers will continue to wonder why officials kept Galli on the job as long as they did.
Still working as a bouncer at a local nightclub, Galli’s situation brings shame to the club, the borough, his family and his karate school.
As a brother aikido black belt (mine is traditional while his comprises a mutation of the art) and veteran martial artist, I’ve known Galli for decades. On at least two occasions I tried to counsel him about his lack of control, obvious insecurity and short fuse. Galli always justified his every move and explained away his dismal immaturity and lack of honor.
Shortly after moving from California and returning to Northeastern Pennsylvania, I called Galli in 2007 to talk about yet another situation he created that made the papers. Thankfully I was gone when Lenny shot the turtle. Again, Lenny wouldn’t listen so I finally cut my ties with him and wrote him off as a terrible example to children and adults.
That’s why I’m here now, to add my voice to those who consider Galli a dangerous thug who needs to go.
We need all the good cops – and black belts - we can get.
We need men, women and children who exemplify the righteous code of conduct that defines character and discipline – traits Galli lacks, according to his weak past and the present allegations against him.
The word “aikido,” translated from Japanese, means “the way of peace and harmony.”
Because of Galli, Exeter needs peace and harmony as much, if not more than, most places in our hard coal region.
Borough bosses must let Galli go.
Let true guardians protect and serve in the spirit of the most noble and courageous samurai. Let honor be our guide. Let character glow with all the power of a finely-honed sword blade cutting through deceit and dishonesty.