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Trainee Officer Recovers $2.5 Million For False Arrest

San Francisco police officer trainee Bret Cornell, while off duty and in street clothes, went for a run one morning in Golden Gate Park, stopping for a brief rest on a knoll called Hippie Hill. Two uniformed patrol officers in the area spotted him, thought he looked “worried,” and grew suspicious because the bushes on Hippie Hill are known for illicit drug activity. As the patrolmen began to approach…

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Off-Duty Officer Working In Bar Covered By Tort Claims Law

Richard Moore is a police officer employed by the City of Humble Police Department in Harris County, Texas. Moore obtained permission from the Police Department to work an extra night job for Coaches Sports Bar & Grill. Coaches is located in Harris County, outside the city limits of Humble. According to Moore, his general responsibilities at Coaches were “basically to keep the peace, make sure that you have individuals…

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Court Upholds $4.1 Million Judgment In Favor Of Police Chief

Doug Greisen was the police chief for Scappoose, Oregon. Greisen brought this lawsuit against Defendant Jon Hanken, the Scappoose City Manager. Greisen became concerned about Hanken’s management of the City’s overall budget. Greisen voiced his concern to several people outside his chain of command, including City Councilor Judi Ingham. In addition to discussing his specific concerns about the Police Department’s budget, Greisen discussed with Councilor Ingham matters concerning Hanken’s…

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Baltimore Officers Allowed To Sue DA In Freddie Gray Case

A federal court has denied motions to dismiss key parts of a civil lawsuit filed against Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby by Baltimore police officers prosecuted in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray. Most of the allegations against Mosby centered on two facts: (1) That days after the riots in the wake of Gray’s death, she held a press conference, announced that she had filed charges against…

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County Liable For Judgment Stemming From Officer’s Off-Duty Work

The University of Maryland at College Park chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity hired Prince George’s County Police Officer Dominique Richardson to provide security for a Halloween party to be held at an off-campus warehouse. Richardson recruited several other officers to help provide security at the event. Although Richardson drove his personal vehicle to the Halloween party, other officers arrived in police cruisers. Richardson wore his gun belt…

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Officer’s $1.00 Victory Does Not Merit Attorney Fees

Anthony Robinson worked as a campus police officer for the University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department. He sued his supervisor, Alfred Perales, and the UIC Board of Trustees for unlawful retaliation based on racial discrimination. Robinson is part African-American and Perales is Hispanic. Robinson alleged that in 2012, Perales inquired about Robinson’s failure to shave in accordance with the Department’s grooming policy. Robinson explained that it was the…

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Deeply Divided Illinois Supreme Court Overturns Rule Shielding Fire, Police

Virtually all states have adopted the “public duty” rule. Under the rule, governments and their employees owe no duty of care to individual members of the general public to provide governmental services such as police and fire protection services. The rule effectively prohibits lawsuits against public safety agencies for failure to respond, or failure to respond in a timely manner. In a deeply divided opinion, the Illinois Supreme Court…

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State Police Major Loses Defamation Lawsuit Against Police Union

John Burns was a major in the Massachusetts State Police. In 1995, Burns approached Trooper Kathleen Barrett to question her about court overtime and whether she was properly subpoenaed. Barrett called Dean Bennett, the vice-president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, asked about the policy, and complained about the manner in which Burns had conducted his inspection. Barrett told Bennett that she felt humiliated. Subsequently, Bennett was at…

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Officer Loses Claim For Fall Into Pool

Mohamed Seyam is a police officer in Parsippany, New Jersey. Seyam was chasing a car burglary suspect on foot through suburban yards in Parsippany after 9:00 p.m. on September 18, 2008. The backyard of Mohamed and Shkila Yunum was surrounded by a six-foot vinyl fence. The suspect and Seyam both attempted to climb the fence at the same time. They broke down a part of the fence and continued…

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Fire Chief Loses Lawsuit Against Firefighters’ Union

Michael Pruitt was the first African-American Fire Chief for the City of Longview, Texas. After he was terminated from this position, he filed suit against the Longview Professional Firefighters Association, Local 4331 of the IAFF, as well as several officers of the union. Pruitt alleged that Local 4331 “initiated a public campaign targeted to undermine the public perception of Chief Pruitt’s work ethics and initiatives, as well as his…

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In Polygraph Case, Lieutenant Retains Most Of Multi-Million Dollar Judgment Against City

Dan Dixon was a lieutenant with the City of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Police Department. In December 2008, allegations were made that Dixon had falsified timekeeping records and intentionally violated a subordinate officer’s rights under a labor agreement. In January 2009, the City began an internal investigation into these allegations. As part of the investigation, and pursuant to City policy and Dixon’s employment agreement, Dixon submitted to two independent polygraph…

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Department Not ‘Immune’ From Detective’s Lawsuit

Under Ohio law, public bodies are generally entitled to immunity from liability for “intentional torts.” However, there is an exception to the immunity rule if the intentional tort occurs during the course and scope of employment. These principles were applied in a case involving former Detective Michael George, who worked for the Village of Newburgh Heights Police Department. When George was terminated after more than ten years of service,…

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Officer Wins Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Both Perpetrator And Employer

Shirley Johnson is an officer with the City of Belzoni, Mississippi Police Department. Johnson sued the City, Police Chief Mickey Foxworth, and Belzoni Police Officer David James, claiming she was sexually harassed at work by James for approximately a year. Johnson reported the harassment to her supervisor, Foxworth, but claimed insufficient action was taken to remedy the situation. The matter proceeded to trial, and the jury returned a unanimous…

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Court Overturns Verdict Against Fire Department, But Not Against Fire Union

Anthony Booth and Jerry Brown are firefighters with Pasco County, Florida, and are members of the bargaining unit represented by Local 4420 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Booth and Brown sued the County and Local 4420, claiming that both retaliated against them after they filed various charges of discrimination against them in 2007 and 2008. Booth and Brown alleged that the County retaliated against them by mandating…

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On Appeal, Officer Loses $7.0 Million Of $7.5 Million Judgment

Danny Holmes was a police officer of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. In January 2003, a KCPD homicide detective, Michael Hutcheson, requested that Officer Holmes and Officer Shawn Hamre assist in a missing persons search for a man named Guy Coombs. While investigating, Holmes was reporting to Detective Hutcheson by cell phone. The officers were directed to an apartment in midtown Kansas City. Based on the lead, Detective…

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Failure To Train And Sexual Misconduct

Joshua Mozeleski is a Chicopee, Massachusetts police officer. On the night of November 9, 2007, Yolanda Claudio was acting as the designated driver during celebrations for her cousin’s birthday. After she dropped her cousin off at the end of the night, she noticed Joshua Mozeleski, whom she did not know, in a nearby parked police cruiser. Mozeleski subsequently drove off and Claudio left a short time later. Mozeleski circled…

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Officer Wins $1.5 Million In Disability Lawsuit Against LAPD

Rory Cuiellette is a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. After several years on the job, Cuiellette was injured and placed on disability leave. After his workers’ compensation claim resolved with a finding of 100% disability, the City accepted his request to return to work in May 2003. He worked less than five days before the City realized that he was “100% disabled” and, on that basis,…

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