St. Pete officer resigns amid allegations about conduct with victim
A St. Petersburg police officer has resigned amid allegations he pursued a woman after arranging for her husband to be arrested on domestic battery charges. John C. Klipp, 34, left the department before an internal affairs board reviewed his actions on Thursday. Had he not resigned, he would have been fired, according to a memorandum from Police Chief Chuck Harmon. Klipp investigated a fight between Tracy DiMasi and Joseph Ciannilli on July 7. Klipp determined Ciannilli struck DiMasi, and another officer arrested Ciannilli the next day. On Dec. 17, Ciannilli’s attorney, Rohom Khonsari, complained about Klipp to internal affairs, providing several pages of texts and images Klipp and DiMasi had sent to one another. The communications lasted from the time Klipp first investigated the domestic battery until October.“During this time period and immediately after the arrest of Ciannilli, Officer Klipp was actively pursuing a relationship with DiMasi,” Harmon’s memorandum says. “Officer Klipp would often call her affectionate names and regularly make remarks about her appearance. He also sent inappropriate pictures of himself to DiMasi.” On July 21, the two met at Lake Maggiore Park after she contacted him on her personal cell phone to hand over Ciannilli’s keys, Harmon’s memorandum says. Klipp kissed her. The internal affairs review board on Thursday found Klipp had violated policies dictating that officers not allow their personal feelings interfere with their work and requiring them to behave appropriately. The review board also concluded Klipp had lied. Ciannilli was initially arrested on a charge of aggravated battery. Later, prosecutors dropped that charge and accused him of felony battery, criminal mischief and grand theft. All the charges were dropped in October, records state. The internal affairs review board also suspended Officer Kenneth Pienik for 80 hours after he engaged in a nonsexual relationship, some of it on Facebook, with a 17-year-old member of the Explorer Program. Pienik also was removed from his job as an advisor to the program.
The board also suspended Officer Brian Gainer for 40 hours after he repeatedly failed to show up for prescheduled tasks, including at least one deposition.