A few years back I was in the Coquille City Municipal Court on Central Avenue to defend myself, once again, from a citation resulting from yet another complaint lodged by a neighbor by the name of Thomas Konomos (TK). This wasn’t the first time and In each case the judge found in my favor. TK didn’t even bother to show up for this particular one but since the Coquille Police officer who wrote the ticket was in attendance, I took the opportunity to explain to the court and the officer that for reasons unknown to me, this man has it in for me. Addressing the judge and looking toward the officer I explained that TK is successfully using Coquille Police Department (CPD) to harass me for more than twelve years.

Approximately three weeks ago, after more than a decade of foul language, insults, and fecal matter deposited on my lawn and even next to back door by his dog, I placed my first phone call requesting assistance from CPD. Unfortunately, what I learned from the experience, even though we are all entitled to equal protection under the law, CPD will not protect me or my family. Even worse, there is no one to complain to, thanks to the thoughtlessness of our city council. Coquille Police Chief Scott Sanders, is now doing double duty as the city manager although having lived through the Chief Mike Reaves era everyone knows the city council, manager and chief will all just circle the wagons, welfare of the citizens be damned.

It was 2003 when I bought my little home on a quiet dead-end street in Coquille. It seemed like a safe place to raise my two young daughters. There are eight houses on the street, four on each side. TK moved in a couple houses down from mine a few years later. In time he proved himself to be a very tedious if not downright unreasonable neighbor, not just to me but anyone and everyone.

To provide some flavor of what it is like to have this person for a neighbor he once rushed out of his home, crossed the street to shout at grammar school aged children playing in a front yard trampoline because they were laughing and giggling too loudly at four o’clock in the afternoon. More than once the peace would be destroyed by a booming shouting match between him and an irate neighbor.

A former homeowner on the other side found TK so difficult to get along with that for months he denied access to a driveway that was TK only entry to his own garage.

As a footnote below I will append some examples of the petty harassment he has put me through, however, his hatred for me extends to anyone who visits me. Once he came outside to shout at my housekeeper for parking on the street too close to his house and demanded she backup her car a few feet. She complied. Another time he yelled at her over his back fence and across our mutual neighbor’s back yard for being on the wrong side of our shared driveway.

In one instance he called CPD because a family friend was standing in our driveway with his dog and the dog wasn’t on a leash. The dog wasn’t doing anything except standing by her owner forty feet up into my driveway, but he called the police anyway.

TK’s own son has nothing to do with him.

It’s been suggested to me that the TK just hates women and that he may have an alcohol problem. Obviously, I don’t know if this is true, or if it was true whether it is still true, but I speculate this man’s hatred for me stems from something that happened several years ago at the local Safeway.

First, for new readers who don’t already know this history my oldest son John served two tours in Iraq with the USMC where he served as a squad leader and encountered heavy combat in Ramadi and survived amongst other things five separate IED attacks. He was honorably discharged obtaining the rank of corporal in 2006 and suffering from the effects of TBI and acute PTSD. Unable to navigate the quagmire of the VA system on his own he came up to Coquille where I helped him receive the services he needed and to which he was entitled.

This was a very rough and trying time and produced a lot of turmoil and problems for our family. Like a lot of veterans and trauma survivors, John self-medicated with alcohol and frequented the area bars where he came in contact with TK. John never elaborated but they didn’t get on very well and one day while shopping, TK stopped me to make me aware that my son was being unkind or mean or I’m not sure what else.

Frankly, I was a bit surprised he felt it important to inform me or what he expected me to do about it and I told him so.

“Thomas, you and John are both adults and you are both going to bars and you are both choosing to drink too much,” I told him. “You’re a grownup, work it out.”

Unfortunately, in the twelve, thirteen or more years since my encounter at the grocery store TK has tormented me with an endless stream of petty but persistent harassment. Much of that harassment comes in the form of verbal insults if I happen to be standing in my yard or if he comes across me walking the dogs across the highway. He is incapable of walking past me without uttering some insult or issuing some order.

TK successfully uses the CPD to harass me by calling in complaints for everything from my shrubs being too tall or having an unleashed dog in the front yard. Some of these complaints have resulted in citations written after the issue is already resolved but for which I nonetheless had to go to court and stand before a judge to get the matter dismissed. Each time I have prevailed and I don’t know why CPD even writes the citations. In one instance they left him to represent his case in court on his own. He lost.

Rarely do I respond to TK or even acknowledge him. Once, I did ask him why he is such a miserable old man, but my primary strategy has been to ignore him as much as possible. As I have grown older, however, his worsening behavior has put me on edge enough that a couple of years ago I began installing surveillance cameras around my house.

Last summer I was taking my dogs to the field across the highway for a little romp. The field is twenty plus acres and includes a paved “river walk” and many people use the field to exercise their dogs. My preferred spot is to walk the dogs along a dirt track which more or less parallels the river walk but if there are a lot of dog owners around, I might pick another spot, not because either dog has a problem with other dogs but just to be prudent and avoid potential issues. The dogs stay close, so I generally keep the leash in my pocket and don’t tether them.

On this particular morning I had just let the dogs out of the car when out of my peripheral vision I see a figure walking briskly in my direction and a loud booming voice yells out, “…get your f___ing dogs on a leash.”

First, I try to brush him off with a “thank you” but he isn’t having it. He has entered our space, standing no more than 20’ from me, even though this a really big field and he could have gone anywhere. He refuses to move on and unleashes an endless stream of foul and abusive language at the top of his lungs. A woman was walking along the river walk at that moment and she slows her pace and watches cautiously before hurriedly skirting around us and rushing off.

Reasoning with TK does not help so I decide this isn’t worth it and I put both dogs back in the car and went home. The whole encounter lasted four minutes or less. On my way out I saw the woman who had passed earlier and told her how sorry I was she had to witness that. She smiled and nodded.

Normal people don’t behave like this. This man, in my opinion is unwell. People who are not normal and are unwell can and do do horrible things.

Later that morning I receive a visit from the Coquille PD. Yep, TK called them claiming one of my dogs was “looking at him funny.” Now, I’m not sure what he meant by that, but I will say that he came directly up to us, not the other way around, and was behaving in a very aggressive and threatening manner. If my dog was keeping a wary eye on him, she was behaving prudently.

The officers are very polite and willing to listen, which I greatly appreciate, and I relate what happened. After introducing them to both dogs, Rod who was seventeen years old and has since passed, and Zelda an eight-year-old rescue with bad hips, the officers agreed the dogs did not pose a threat. They also confirmed for me that they don’t have to be on a leash at the field, just under my control. She agreed I made the right choice to exit the situation.

During this discussion I told her that I had decided that maybe I should start calling for help from CPD when I am confronted by TK, even though I have tried to avoid doing so all these years. Prior to leaving, the officers suggested I avoid the field if I know TK is out there, and I can only hope she gave him the same advice.

After the river walk incident, I ordered another security camera, the kind that picks up audio and I did online research on personal tasers. My opinion is that TK, based upon his inability to control his temper and his increasingly irrational behavior poses a threat.

Approximately three weeks ago, I placed the first phone call requesting help from CPD relating to TK and if I learned one thing from the experience, not only will CPD not protect me but they will subject us to rude and unprofessional behavior, insults and verbal assaults.

My son Chris was mowing our neighbor’s lawn, he does this for her as needed. She and I share a driveway and she is the second owner to live here since I bought my home in 2003. Just as with the previous owner we get along very well and before COVID we socialized both at home and outside of the home. The gas-powered lawnmower has a grass catcher attached but as anyone knows a few blades of grass might still cast out from beneath the deck.

Chris was mowing the section of lawn between the sidewalk and the street. TK charges out of his house setting his dog loose and begins screaming at my son on one side while his dog is in the street barking at him from the other. Chris is almost finished at this point and motions that he cannot hear TK over the noise of the lawnmower and his headphones and tries to finish the job, but again, TK won’t have it. He’s shrieking at my son and his dog is barking menacingly.

It should be noted that TK began needling my son months earlier and for the most part, Chris does his best to ignore him, but in this instance, obviously this was not possible. Chris, covered in sweat from working in the sun, comes in to advise me what is going on. Again, normal people do not behave this way and TK is now harassing me and my family. We mutually agreed that maybe, after more than a dozen years, it is finally time to ask for some help.

Help did not arrive. Instead, Lt Doug Miller responds to the call and sniffs the air, maybe consults a Magic Eight Ball, and instantly decides Chris is the problem. He advised that TK has a right to say whatever he wants. He further stated that his dog doesn’t have to be on a leash as long as he isn’t in the street. Chris pointed out the dog was in the street, to which Miller shouted even louder and accused Chris of trying to involve him in a “pissing match” and he is not interested. According to Miller, TK can use his dog to threaten my son for the crime of mowing a neighbor’s lawn.

Since I have been cited by CPD for far less Chris pressed for clarification, but Miller doesn’t answer questions, he’s too important and too busy to do his job and since his mind is already made up its easier to brow beat innocent citizens. He leaves without ever offering any suggestions for how to deal with TK.

Miller is rude, overtly arrogant and I consider him the quintessential bully with a badge. The video we captured from a subsequent incident helps demonstrate why so many people have such a negative opinion of law enforcement and contributes to the increasing lack of trust in police tactics and judgment. Miller’s style of policing hurts the department and puts the public at risk.

No other conclusion can be made other than we are on our own. My current strategy of ignoring TK isn’t working because he is now transferring his attention to Chris. Is there a civil remedy? I don’t know the answer to that yet but when police refuse protection and neighbors are left to their own devices bad things happen. The reason, I installed video surveillance was for protection against TK and now it turns out it will also protect us from the Coquille Police Department. One thing is abundantly clear, Miller has wrongly “profiled” my son and further emboldened TK which this video clip will corroborate. Conversely, TK’s constant harassment has literally put my family in danger not the least of which with the local police department.

Miller is unofficially acting as interim police chief filling in for Sanders. In doing research on Miller I have learned, amongst many other things, he separated from the Coos County Sheriff’s Department in 2018 and that he appears to be on a Coos County Brady List. This means that he has somehow compromised his integrity or shown poor judgment damaging his credibility in court. Our city council evidently finds this acceptable.

It’s April 29, 2021 shortly after 10AM. The video shows an encounter between Chris and TK which prompted two workers across the street, one of whom is TK’s nephew, to call CPD. The video which includes views from two cameras was offered to CPD but never viewed by the officers. The only adjustments made to the raw video I’ve made is to raise the audio levels by 12 dB to make it easier for viewers to hear.

The initial responding officer told Chris he did not believe Chris’ account, preferring the version offered by the workers now joined by TK, across the street, but did at least say he was willing to look at the video and he was at least polite. Then Lt Miller arrives and bulldozes through the whole scene. Miller cannot be bothered to review evidence. Why would a police officer be interested in evidence? Instead, he seizes Chris’ BB gun says he is turning it in to the district attorney for a menacing charge but first he delivers a lecture and does his best to demean and belittle my son.

For the sake of time I haven’t included the entirety of Miller’s interaction with Chris. Here is a law enforcement officer who, in my opinion, has violated our civil rights, is not considered a credible witness in front of a jury, deigning himself worthy of passing judgment, threatening arrrests and lecturing citizens of Coquille. Based on what I have learned about Miller one has to wonder if Miller could even testify against Chris.

You have to wonder how many teenagers’ lives have been ruined by this peace officer steamrolling over the facts and evidence. Shame on the city council for subjecting our citizens to this type of policing.

As for TK it is worth mentioning that while Chris was working on our neighbor’s fence days after all this happened TK come out to talk to him.

“Hey Chris, I know you probably hate my guts right now,” he begins, “but you’re doing a really good job on this fence.”

Chris ignored him. This is not a normal person. This person is unwell.

For fun, I’m including another video showing how cops react to being spoken to the way they speak to the public. This version includes commentary and it’s pretty entertaining.