Ellsworth Fortman crash: A timeline of how the LAFD official dodged discipline
With less than a week until a scheduled crash on the Long Island Expressway in which a young child was killed, we’re taking a closer look at the man who will be at the center of the drama: Long Island Expressway Police Commander Lewis L. Fortman.
Fortman was the leader of an officer cadet training academy in Woodbourne, until he was suspended after a series of videos went viral on social media over the summer. When these videos made the rounds, they were all over the Internet, and they were all over the news.
In these videos, Fortman is seen laughing, and giving inappropriate commands toward officers who are on duty, or off duty, during the course of training, the video shows. He’s also seen using his uniform as a costume to interact with women at a pool, in front of a group of boys, and at the LIEPD’s annual Halloween party.
But it wasn’t until after these videos were exposed that LIEPD Superintendent Michael Palladino and the LIEPD’s chief of staff, Anthony Branca, came under fire for their decision to let Fortman lead the academy, and for doing far too little to discipline him. The videos were posted to YouTube (and YouTube removed the videos shortly after the story was first reported), but they were quickly taken down because of their profanity and content.
Fortman is now back in the position he previously occupied at the LIEPD training academy. And with a little over a week to go before the fatal crash, he’s made some dramatic changes to the academy campus that have caused his career to come under fire.
It’s not a secret that Fortman has some baggage. He’s a former Navy SEAL, he’s a married man with two children who live with his wife in Nassau, and that’s on top of his own history with drugs. He’s also a former friend and colleague of former LIEPD Police