Arbitrator Upholds Termination Of Tamir Rice Officer, But On Other Grounds

On November 22, 2014, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The shooting sparked protests, national media attention, visits to Cleveland by the U.S. Attorney General and a criminal investigation by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. When the grand jury issued a “no true bill” finding, the Police Chief established a…

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Q&A

From New Mexico Question: Where in the FLSA does it say that work hours can’t be adjusted to avoid the payment of overtime? Answer: The FLSA’s rules are pretty specific. Under the FLSA, an employer cannot adjust the start of the employee’s FLSA work week or work period for the purposes of avoiding overtime. However, the employer is free to adjust work hours within a work week or work…

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Revocation Of Corrections Certificate Not Automatic For Conviction For Lying

Shawn King was a corrections officer with the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). In 2009 or 2010, King’s brother and sister-in-law gave him their dog, Sophie. They told King that they would take Sophie back at any time if King could no longer care for her. In 2013, King took Sophie to the Payette City Police Department in Idaho, where King lived, and told a police officer that he…

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Disparate Treatment May Be Defense To Dishonesty Termination

The Town of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts terminated Daniel Desmond from the position of police officer for his “continued pattern of lying/perjury and conduct unbecoming a police officer.” The charges against him arose out of his relationship with a married woman referred to as Mrs. A. Ultimately, Mrs. A. completed an application for a restraining order against her husband. Desmond called the Brockton Police Department to obtain information about who…

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Correcting Lie During Same Interview Saves Officer’s Job

On December 2, 2013, a complainant alleged that an officer of the Hutchinson, Kansas Police Department had arrested her in late November for a DUI violation. The complainant said that the officer later telephoned her at home, sent her several text messages, and generally engaged in harassing conduct. The Department interviewed the officer, who admitted visiting the home of the complainant after the DUI arrest to follow up on…

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Dispatcher Terminated Over False Claims Against Police Officer

In August 2011, Valinda Carter, a dispatcher for the Columbia County, Florida Sheriff’s Department, was at home when she received a phone call from her brother. Columbia County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Latimer had just stopped Carter’s brother for a traffic violation. The apparent purpose of the brother’s call was to maintain an “open line” so that Carter could hear what was happening during the traffic stop. At some point,…

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Officer’s Lie Not Big Enough For Termination

Maintaining the public’s trust is as synonymous with law enforcement as the slogan “to protect and serve.” A sustained allegation of untruthfulness has long been regarded a career killer for police officers. Recent years have seen a significant impact from Brady v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court case that requires prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense in a criminal case. Citing the Brady rule, prosecutors have placed…

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California Courts Continue Hard Line On Officer Dishonesty

Law enforcement recruits are often told that the one disciplinary offense that will not be tolerated is dishonesty. “You lie, you die” is a common parlance in many police academies. In practice, the rule has become less and less clear-cut. Many courts, arbitrators and civil service boards tend to see gradations of untruthfulness. To be sure, untruthfulness in official police reports, particularly where the untruthfulness impacts the rights of…

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Brady Does Not Necessarily Require Discharge Of Untruthful Trooper

Thomas C. Wetherington was employed as a trooper with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. In 2009, Wetherington was fired for violating the Patrol’s policies on untruthfulness. After a variety of appeals, the matter ended up in the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The Court started with the proposition that under North Carolina law, “determining whether a public employer had just cause to discipline its employee requires two separate…

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Court Finds Firefighters Different Than Police For Dishonesty Purposes

Richard Urich, a member of Local 2156 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, is a firefighter-paramedic for the City of North Royalton, Ohio. On April 17, 2010, Urich and two other firefighters were dispatched to assist a resident suffering an apparent seizure. Upon arriving at the scene, they were informed by the patient’s wife that the patient had a history of heroin abuse. The paramedics forcibly removed the…

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