Washington State Supreme Court Declines To Hear Seattle Police Union Appeal Of Court Ruling In Fired Officer’s Case

Washington’s Supreme Court won’t take up a Seattle police union petition seeking to challenge a court ruling that overturned an arbitrator’s 2018 decision to reinstate an officer who was fired for punching a handcuffed suspect in the face.

Chief Justice Steven C. González’s one-page order on Wednesday denied the Seattle Police Officers Guild’s petition for a hearing about the Adley Shepherd case, effectively ending the union’s challenge of a Court of Appeals’ ruling in April.

In a statement Friday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, City Attorney Pete Holmes and other city officials praised the Supreme Court’s order.

“Officer Shepherd’s termination was the right decision, and the courts have found that SPD and the City appropriately refused to reinstate Officer Shepherd,” Durkan said.

SPOG President Mike Solan said in an email Friday he had no immediate comment about the matter.

Former Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole had fired Shepherd in 2016 for an incident two years earlier, caught on police video, in which he punched Miyekko Durden-Bosley, an intoxicated and handcuffed domestic violence suspect, who kicked the officer while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. Shepherd’s punch fractured the orbit of Durden-Bosley’s eye.

Durden-Bosley later settled a civil rights lawsuit against the city for $195,000.

Shepherd defended his actions by saying he was following policy and that other officers have received more lenient discipline for similar uses of excessive force. He appealed his termination to a disciplinary review board, leading to the tiebreaking vote by an arbitrator. The 2018 ruling called on the city to reinstate Shepherd with a 15-day unpaid suspension.

The Seattle City Attorney’s Office appealed the decision to Superior Court, which sided with O’Toole and reinstated Shepherd’s termination. Shepherd then appealed with the support of the police guild. The appeals court’s 46-page opinion in April upheld the lower court’s decision to reverse the ruling.

From www.seattletimes.com

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