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Date of Incident: August 7, 2014 (Other incidents have been ongoing since at least 2005.)
Individuals Involved: Acting Chief Sgt. John Saranchuk, Former Chief of Police Anthony Demark, Officer David Turkos, Dupont Borough Mayor Lello and Judge Chiaverella. (Possibly other unknown employees, as well.)
Outfit Involved: Dupont Boro (PA) Police Department
Phone: (570) 654-9971
Address: 600 Chestnut St, Dupont, PA 18641
Facebook Page: Dupont (PA) Police Dept. on FB
Area Cop Block Affiliate: There are numerous Cop Block groups within Pennsylvania you can find the appropriate affiliate in your area by consulting the Cop Block Groups page. In addition, if you live in an area that doesn’t already have a local cop block affiliate, you can Start a Group yourself.
A reader shared the content below regarding the service his business and other area residents have received from the Dupont (PA) Police Dept. over the course of the past decade, via the Cop Block Submissions page:
Over the course of the past ten years, going all the way back to 2005, there have been issues of abuse of power and authority by Dupont, PA. Police. This started under the original Chief of Police, Anthony Demark, and continued under his former Sgt. John Saranchuk, who became acting chief in 2011, when Chief DeMark attacked the borough manager Patricia McDonald in her office and threatened to “Make her Bleed”. From 2005 through 2011 Chief Demark ruled Dupont like a mafia boss and people feared him. Under his reign, Officer David Turkos would beat his wife, Donna, and her kids regularly and threaten their lives.
Chief DeMark would come and protect David Turkos from arrest and threaten to have the kids taken by CPS if Donna Turkos filed charges or a PFA. In 2008, Donna Turkos sought help from the Luzerne country DA’s office and they contacted Chief Demark and told him he had to provide Mrs. Turkos with a PFA after Officer David Turkos broke her arm and ribs and beat up her oldest son, who was then 11 years old. Rather than file the PFA, Chief DeMark had SGT. John Saranchuk arrest Donna Turkos for filing a false report!
Also starting in 2007, Chief Demark started a systematic harassment against a new business in town called We’ve Got Game, a place for children of all ages that had an I-cafe, gameroom, billiards, and food. Chief Demark, as well as officers working for him, would come to We’ve Got Game and force patrons to give their information. If they were not from Dupont they were told not to come back to Dupont or risk fines and arrest for loitering. So called “conferences with parents and children” started and the Chief and his officers would tell the parents that their children would face $300 fines, if they were seen in or near my business. They were also told I was a drug dealer from New Jersey, which is untrue as I lived my entire life one town over in Avoca, PA.
After several calls, a letter to the borough, and several meetings with council, Chief DeMark and Sgt Saranchuk showed up on March 20th and Chief Demark assaulted an employee and myself and threatened us with arrest because he had “gone over his head” to the borough. I asked Sgt Saranchuk to arrest him at that time for assault and he stated “I don’t want to get involved” and he told Demark we should go and ushered him away. In this time, Demark and Saranchuk devised a Ticketing scheme designed to chase away customers. They charged $25 per ticket and it was paid directly to them at the police station. I have records that show $1075 in tickets for a month and only $195 turned in! Also I kept 6 tickets hoping for my day in court. However, it never came because they never turned in unpaid tickets. The whole thing was a scheme to defraud Dupont and steal money while harassing my business and chasing my customers away. Customers and employees were ticketed in my own parking lot!
Donna Turkos eventually did have her day in court with her husband, although he was given a slap on the wrist by “kids for cash” Judge Chiaverella and a $100 fine, but was removed from the police force. He also later plead guilty to corruption of minors for masturbating to porn in front of his children! She filed a civil lawsuit with Attorney Barry Dyller in 2010 and settled in 2011. I also filed suit with Attorney Tim Polishan in 2010 and settled in 2011 after Demark attacked the borough manager and threatened to kill her. Demark was allowed to take sick leave and full pay for almost 2 years until he officially retired in 2013.
Saranchuk then took over the department in 2011 as acting Chief. The town was promised a new start and better police force. Under Saranchuk it actually got worse. In 2013, I leased out my business to Continental Bar and Grill. A week before the new business opened, a derogatory letter went around warning residents that I was opening a “Mexican” Night club. The month it opened, I had three police cars parked along side my building every Friday and Saturday night with lights flashing. In addition, the police under Saranchuk would stop and frisk my patrons, question them, and harass them. Neighbors started saying people were using their yards to change tampons. It was insanity! One woman said someone threatened her life and the police took out everyone in the place wearing an orange shirt for identification, before the woman admitted she made it up. The police did not arrest her for false reporting. Due to the constant harassment, that business closed in November of 2013, just five months after opening.
In 2013, Donna Turkos again had trouble with her ex cop husband David Turkos. In the years after the divorce, and through counseling, the kids had revealed that their grandfather, David Turkos’ father, had molested them. CPS filed the charges along with the charges against Joseph Turkos in 2013, but Saranchuk did everything he could to delay charges. Once again, he and Officer Jason Kwaitkowski, had her arrested for false charges when she claimed her ex husband was threatening and menacing her. Later, Joseph Turkos plead guilty to molesting the boys and is now serving two-six years in prison. The charges against Donna Turkos for false reporting were later dismissed in court, of course.
In August of 2014, the FBI and PA State police along with the Luzerne country DA, descended on the Dupont Police station. They investigated complaints and found evidence missing and misplaced, open packages of narcotics (heroine) in the Chief Saranchuk’s desk drawer, Police reports erased from the computer system, and various other things. Saranchuk, who is also chief of the town of Dickson, PA, was told not to set foot on the property and relieved of duty immediately.
DA Stephanie Salvantis released this to the press:
This is a list of links about the history of the Dupont police department corruption under DeMark and Saranchuk:
This letter was submitted to Mayor Lello and the council in 2008! It went unanswered and ignored! I had to retain an attorney, Attorney Dyller was already handling the Turkos case so he referred me to Attorney Tim Polishan, an excellent Attorney by the way!
Att: Mayor Lello and Borough Council
Re: Continuing Police Harassment of We’ve Got Game/The Corner Pocket Lounge and its patrons.
On several occasions over a period of (2) years beginning on or about July 16, 2007 and continuing through and until the present, Police Chief Tony Demark and the Dupont Police department have continually harassed patrons of We’ve Got Game and The Corner Pocket Lounge. Minors have been stopped for no apparent reason and questioned in front of the doors of the building and their personal information requested on almost a weekly basis. If they were not from the town of Dupont, they were told not to come back to Dupont or they would be arrested for loitering or curfew violations. On several occasions, children who were dropped off by parents were told to leave and forced to walk home without the benefit of even a phone call home for a ride. On one occasion, (2) boys ages 14 were forced to walk home to Hughestown approximately a (3) mile walk along Main St in Dupont and up the old Pittston Bypass where there was in fact no shoulder to even walk on risking serious bodily injury or even possible death. On 3/20/08 at or about 2:30PM Police chief Tony Demark stopped at my place of business and threatened these boys with fines and arrest if they did not leave. He instructed them that we were closed for the day. We were in fact not closed but opening at 3:00PM. I received phone calls from both boys parents regarding this incident and both are willing to testify to what was said and what happened. I in turn reviewed the recorded video footage from our surveillance system and called Mayor Lello, as well as several councilmen, Councilmen Knick, and Councilmen Golembiewski. I was told that you would speak to him about this matter. My employee also left a polite message at the police department asking if there was an issue I should be made aware of regarding my business or the kids and explaining that I have a surveillance system in the event there was a problem or any damage done around the building.
On 3/21/08 Chief Tony Demark of the Dupont police department came to my place of business at approximately 6:40 PM, off duty and in civilian clothes. He was accompanied by officer John Saranchuk of the Dupont Police Dept. He asked to speak to my employee outside and My Employee and I followed him out to the front of the building. Outside Chief Demark pulled out a post it Note with My employees Name and information on it and began to yell at him, Telling him he would arrest him for interfering in police business and asked him “Who the hell do you think you are calling up to question me?” My employee replied that he just wanted to know why Chief Demark was at our premises and if there was a problem we needed to be made aware of. I then asked Chief Demark why he is interfering in my business and chasing the customers away. I explained that I have a security system in place to ensure that there is no trouble, and to ensure that the kids are safe and respectful, but also to protect my business and that I saw him making customers leave before we opened for business. I had chairs outside for the older ladies for the bus stop as well as for customers who were waiting for us to open or having a cigarette as our facility is non-smoking. I said “ They are safer here than they are in school. I have camera’s watching their every move” He then threatened to arrest me and got very heated with My employee and I, he called My employee who is short and overweight, “fatty” and other names and was very hostile toward him. He pushed he and I all around the front of the building in plain view of several customers and my partner Vince Grazious. Also this was all recorded on Video. When My employee told him he was being recorded on video and asked Officer Saranchuk to arrest him for assault. He denied touching anyone and Officer Saranchuk said “ I don’t want to be involved” I then told Officer Saranchuk he was also on Video and to consider that when he is asked if he witnessed Chief Demark assaulting us. Chief Demark demanded we give him the video tapes and told us we had no right to record him conducting “Police business” and that we were on “Borough property.” I replied “ the borough better come and shovel my walks and give me a break on taxes then because this is my sidewalk and I own it and clean it and am responsible for it.” Chief Demark asked me “ why do you have camera’s outside, are you looking in people’s windows?” He then said “ Are you watching the little kids on their bicycles? Are you a pedophile? Would you want someone watching your kids?” I told him “yes if it meant they would be safe, I would want a camera on them 24/7.” Chief Demark again threatened to arrest me and I told him to please do so because I have done nothing wrong and my attorney would be in touch if he continued his harassment. I ushered my employee back inside the building and Chief Demark and Officer Saranchuk left.
I went to the borough meeting that month and at that meeting Officer Demark made a statement that “we have a business in town that is bringing an influx of kids from out of town and they are writing curses and things in the slides at the new playground” Although he would not mention my business by name, I am the only new business at that time for children of all ages. I stood up and offered to pay half the cost of a system comparable to my security system. I explained its capabilities and options and offered to install it at no cost to the borough and to pay half of the cost for the system. About $600.00. I was told by the council, “Thank you for the offer Mr. DeFazio, we will consider it” and that was the last I ever heard of it.
I again attended a meeting in May of 08 and spoke with council about the continued harassment at my business. I explained to councilman Knick that parents were calling telling me that Chief Demark said “they sell drugs” at the pool hall in town. I was told he drove several kids home at 8:00 PM well before the established curfew and warned many parents that their kids would be cited for Curfew and given fines of up to $300.00 if they were caught at my business after 9PM on weekdays or 10PM on weekends. My attorney tells me that it is a violation of your rights to tell a person that they cannot allow their child or Minor to be at a facility built for them as long as they are supervised, we do not live in a society of Marshall law. As a result of this harassment I lost a lot of business and a lot of money. I spoke to the borough and explained that if it persisted I would have to move my liquor license into the building and eliminate the arcade and the kids would lose out. The borough did nothing about this and so I applied to have my liquor license moved from 410 Main St. to 317 Main St. and created The Corner Pocket Lounge.
Now that my building houses (2) businesses, We’ve Got Game, and The Corner Pocket Lounge, the harassment has increased. I have hundreds of photographs of vehicles who are parked during events at the fire house and the VFW and on those nights or days when they have events there are positively no Parking tickets issued to those vehicles. Yet on the dates I have a band or even a Cancer Benefit for a 5 year old boy, every car that parks on the streets around my building gets a ticket. Even the bartenders and Myself have been ticketed in my own parking lot in the rear of the building. I could not believe he ticketed the people who parked for the cancer benefit. Chief Demark has since asked the borough to increase the fine for the tickets from $5.00 to $25.00 per ticket. He is making it impossible for anyone to park anyplace and go to my business. Yet Like I said, when they park in those exact spaces for an event at the hose company or even the VFW, he does not ticket anyone.
Sometime in March or April of 09, My brother received a parking ticket for parking in my lot in the rear of my building. I told him to fight the ticket but he went over to pay it and Chief Demark refused to take his payment and said he was too busy to deal with it at that time. How long does it take to write out a receipt for $25.00? Anyway, they had some words, Chief Demark threatened to Kick my brothers ass, and he left and went to Patty McDonald and she took payment. Here we are 6-8 weeks later, and I receive in the mail on Thursday, (2) summons for court in my name, and with all my information filled in on them, but addressing the incident which happened with Chief Demark and my brother. I was not present when it happened, I look nothing like my brother, Chief Demark knows us both very well since we were children because my mother cut his hair for years, and I have no knowledge of it other than what my brother told me yet the Chief fined me. If this doesn’t show the blatant harassment on his part and disregard for his job and duties I don’t know what does. I have retained an Attorney, and I plan to sue the Police department, Chief Demark, The Mayor, and the borough of Dupont. Someone has to Police the Police department and no one seems to care about it. I have spoken to Attorney Barry H. Dyller, and you will be hearing from him very soon regarding this matter.
This is Surveillance video, which shows some of the harassment faced by customers attempting to enter the business: