Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht is running for re-election and that has a lot of Berks County law enforcement people very nervous. He runs a renegade department which is out of control. I have talked with five different sources over the course of this year, both within and outside the Department but all of whom either work or did work there under Weaknecht. What I’ve learned are allegations which show a lack of respect for the law, for human decency and for ethical conduct.
First of all are allegations that the Sheriff allows his Deputies to purchase Sheriffs Sale homes before they are advertised to the public for disposition. This isn’t fair to the public. He also allows them to moonlight working part-time for local police departments. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, I am told, has outlawed this because of potential conflicts of interest when the Deputies must escort prisoners to and from court after they were the arresting officer in their other job.
Speaking of handling prisoners the most disturbing allegations involve the torture of shackled prisoners. Multiple sources have informed me of a video in the possession of a retired officer which shows a Hispanic prisoner in the Central Processing Unit being tasered. The Deputies moved away from him just before one of them fired the potentially lethal weapon at the shackled, and calm, prisoner’s back. The video purportedly shows them laughing at the inhumane torture. I have not seen the video personally but if true it justifies a U.S. Department of Justice investigation which has been requested.
Guns are also missing from the Sheriff’s armory. Sheriff Weaknecht, a favorite of the Berks County Patriots, is a gun fanatic like his predecessor. When protection from abuse orders are issued by Judges any firearms owned by the subject of those orders are to be confiscated by the Sheriffs Department. Allegations say that Weaknecht has returned those weapons to friends of his when they call and demand them back. One of these days someone is going to be murdered with weapons Eric returned in violation of the law. If you are a friend of Weaknecht the law doesn’t apply to you.
Seeing how a Berks County Deputy, Kyle Pagerly, was shot and killed earlier this year by someone prohibited from owning a gun you’d think he’d want to follow the law.
The missing guns are the result of such confiscations. Once a PFD is lifted the subject goes to the armory to claim their weapons (if Eric hasn’t personally done so right after the PFD was issued). Allegations inside the Department say angry citizens demanding their missing guns get no explanation as to their whereabouts. My sources say they should search the Sheriffs home for them. He and his Chief Deputy have been accused of stealing choice guns for their personal collections.
All of these disturbing revelations show an out of control Sheriff. They are all allegations but my multiple sources are all consistent with each other about them. Five sources make a fairly credible story in my humble opinion. I emailed Sheriff Weaknecht about these when I was working this story last spring and he has not responded. Now it time for the information to get to the voters. We’ll allow them to decide if Eric Weaknecht is fit to be Sheriff. If not I imagine the FBI will.