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Civil Service Orders Reinstatement Of Officer Who Shot Rayshard Brooks

On June 12, 2020, Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe and another offi­cer were called to a Wendy’s restaurant to deal with Rayshard Brooks, who had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-through lane. The officers questioned Brooks for a half hour and conducted field sobriety tests. As the officers moved to handcuff Brooks, Brooks grabbed the Taser of one of the officers and began running away. Rolfe chased…

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Probationary Employee Not Entitled To Details Of Basis For Termination

James Fermin was hired by the Law­rence Police Department in Massachusetts in April 2016. After completion of the police academy, Fermin was sworn in as a full-time officer on October 14, 2016. Fermin was on probationary status until October 14, 2017. On August 2, 2017, Mayor Daniel Rivera gave Fermin a written notice of termination. The termination letter, which was effective immediately, stated that “a number of issues have…

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Challenges To The ‘Public Policy’ Doctrine In Illinois

Parties to contracts such as labor agreements can choose to substitute arbitration for a court resolution of contractual disputes. With two notable exceptions, final and binding arbitration of grievances is just that: final and binding. As the Supreme Court held in United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960), a court should not disturb a labor arbitrator’s decision unless the decision does not…

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Last Chance Agreement Can Waive Title VII Discrimination Claims

Michael Snowden is an African American male who formerly worked as a sergeant for the United States Park Police (USPP) supervising other law enforcement officers in the Communications Section. While working a shift in August 2004, Snowden received a call from his relative, Brian Lamont. On the call, Lamont asked Snowden for the registration information associated with a specific license plate – information that Snowden had the ability to…

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EMT Forfeits Job By Failing To Appear For Retraining

After being injured while on duty as an EMT for the Borough of Wildwood Crest, New Jersey in 2010, and following two surgeries on his knee, Jasen Mitchell reached the maximum level of rehabilitation before being medically cleared for modified duty. The physical restrictions placed on Mitchell made it impossible for him to perform the duties of an EMT. The Borough offered him a newly created position as a…

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Corrections Officer Terminated For Dishonesty, Not Disability

Brad Sandefur was a corrections officer for the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois. He suffers from disk desiccation in his spine and osteoarthritis in his knees. Both conditions can cause intermittent pain for weeks at a time. In 2011, Sandefur applied for and received a handicapped parking placard from the Illinois Secretary of State. His application identified his qualifying disability as osteoarthritis or a “knee condition.” The application asserted…

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Reinstatement Ordered For Firefighter Terminated For ‘Moral Character’

To become a City of Plainfield firefighter in New Jersey, applicants are required to prove residency. Christopher D’Amico submitted several documents supporting his Plainfield residency, including a roller hockey alliance insurance card. D’Amico modified the card to include his actual residential address in Plainfield. According to D’Amico, he revised the card because he did not have additional proof of residency when he was asked for further documentation as part…

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Disability Retirement Precludes Civil Service Appeal Of Discharge

Martin Deiro began working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1997 and was injured on duty in May 2012. He continued to work though October 2013, after which he had the first of two surgeries for the injury. He could not return to work after his first surgery and remained on leave. On May 1, 2015, Deiro applied to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA)…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion Reinstating Officer

Andrew Kline is a police officer with the Township of Uwchlan in Pennsylvania. On October 26, 2018, Kline, Officer Warren Obenski and Sergeant David Balben responded to a domestic violence call. While at the caller’s residence, Obenski seized a black duffel bag on the suspicion that it contained illegal drugs. After arriving at the police station, Obenski processed the bag and reminded Kline that it could not be opened…

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‘Mere Technical’ Violations Of Bill Of Rights Not Basis To Reverse Termination

Eric Hiller was a police officer with the Rehoboth Beach Police Department in Delaware. In July 2018, Hiller was advised that he must complete a computer voice stress analyzer exam (CVSA) so that the Department might examine the truthfulness of Hiller’s statements made during his initial interview involving the events of a prisoner transport. A private CVSA examiner, Mike McQuillen was selected to administer the CVSA and Lt. Jaime…

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Chief Deputy Loses Job After Heated Meeting With Union President

Patricia Fritz was the Chief Deputy in the Office of the Sheriff of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. In August 2018, Fritz met with Corporal Steven Felder in his capacity as union president. After other business had been concluded, Felder began a discussion with Fritz concerning her implementation of a policy requiring medical excuses for absence from work in certain situations. Felder challenged the propriety of that requirement. The conversation became…

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Sexting With Minors And Stealing Firearms Result In Pension Forfeiture

Eric Reamy was a sergeant with the Glen Rock Police Department in New Jersey. From 2011 to 2015, Reamy wrongfully and without authorization sold four rifles and three handguns that he improperly removed from the Department’s evidence locker. In 2015, Reamy was the juvenile officer for the Department. He began sexting on his work cellphone with two juvenile females, R.K., who was then 17 and H.G., who was then…

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Video Shows Assault, Not Rough Sexual Foreplay

Joe Jones was a San Diego police officer. In December 2015, Jones traveled to Puerto Rico with his girlfriend, Sarah, to attend a boxing match. Sarah worked as a bookkeeper for the boxer’s wife. Several off-duty San Diego police officers also attended the boxing match as the boxer’s security detail. The day after the boxing match, one of the off-duty police officers, Lieutenant Ben Kelso, learned that an alleged…

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Reporting To Work On Time Essential To Firefighter’s Job

Darrell Hartwell worked as a firefighter/EMT for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City for more than 16 years, until he was fired by Chief James Elston. For his entire career at the Department, Hartwell had trouble getting to work on time. The firefighters at NSA Panama City worked alternating 24-hour shifts starting at 7:00 AM. According to Chief Elston, Hartwell was late “almost every shift.” Until 2011, however, Hartwell…

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Deputy Doubles Down On Dishonesty, Loses Job

Deputy Mark Montez worked as a corrections officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On September 27, 2010, Dequan Ballard, an inmate in the jail, stole items from a commissary cart. The theft was reported to Deputy Omar Lopez, who informed Montez. Lopez and Montez took Ballard to an elevator landing to strip search him for the stolen items. Lopez searched Ballard while Montez monitored the hallway to…

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Termination For Theft ‘Shocks Conscience’ Of Court

The New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau conducted an integrity test whereby an undercover officer acted intoxicated while parked illegally near a fire hydrant. A video of the incident shows Officer Richard Arroyo going into the undercover officer’s vehicle, taking $55 from the center console, taking a $20 bill and putting it into his left hand, while counting out the remaining $35 and grabbing that with his right…

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Fire Lieutenant Terminated For Twice Testing Positive For Marijuana

Marlon Cooper, a lieutenant with the Memphis Fire Department, first tested positive for marijuana in 2008. At that time, Cooper was not terminated from his employment, but instead was suspended for 360 hours and thereafter entered into an employee assistance program (EAP). Although Cooper was given a second chance, the City made clear that illegal drug use was not permitted by its personnel, noting in its 2008 suspension letter…

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Lapse Of State Certification Results In Loss Of Officer’s Job

Adrian Rodriguez became a Miami police officer in 2007. In 2012, the City’s homicide unit received a tip that Rodriguez’s brother and father may have been involved in a homicide in 2007. In 2013, based on the results of an Internal Affairs investigation, Rodriguez was relieved of duty with pay. While on relieved-duty, Rodriguez was observed violating the terms of his relieved-duty status. In 2016, the City terminated Rodriguez….

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No Mutiny, No Termination

On November 13, 2018, the City of Virden, Illinois served a notice of termination on a dispatcher by the name of Ibberson. The notice detailed four reasons for termination: (1) that Ibberson had encouraged another dispatcher to disregard telephone calls from the Department and had informed him of the date and time when she planned to call in sick; (2) by engaging in “insubordination or mutinous activity” by encouraging…

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Permanent Inability To Return To Work Is Fatal

Isaiah Cardinale was an officer with the police department in Nutley Township, New Jersey. In December 2013, Cardinale submitted to a random drug test. Two days later, Cardinale admitted to using cocaine. The Department immediately suspended him pending the results of the test, and Cardinale successfully completed drug and alcohol treatment in Florida. In February 2014, the toxicology report demonstrated that he had tested positive for cocaine. The Department…

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Firing Of Former Sheriff’s Wife Does Not Violate The First Amendment

Tamela Muir, Bert Muir, and Ben Boswell worked for the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) in Iowa. Tamela began working for the DCSO in November 1996 as a jailer and dispatcher. Her employment was at-will. Bert started working for the DCSO on March 19, 1998, when he was elected Sheriff. He hired Boswell as a Deputy Sheriff in September 2001. Tamela and Bert were married in January 2008, and…

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Discharge Not Excessive For Off-Duty, Alcohol-Influenced Shots Fired At Another Deputy

Judith Diaz was a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On October 13, 2011, Diaz went out for drinks with a friend and fellow deputy, Stephanie Hile. The two were joined by a third deputy, Adrienne Myers. The three had drinks at two different locations until closing time. All three left in Hile’s car. According to Diaz, Myers was driving. Myers said that Hile was driving;…

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Anti-Union Animus, Not Profanity, True Basis For Firing

Teamsters Local 261 represents the corrections officers working for Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Before being represented by Local 261, the bargaining unit was represented by the Laborers Union, which disclaimed interest in the bargaining unit on January 19, 2017, following expiration of the collective bargaining agreement on December 31, 2016. Corrections officer Kevin Boston was instrumental in the bargaining unit affiliating with Local 261 and served on Local 261’s bargaining…

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Reinstatement Of Officer Who Filed False Report Strikes ‘Appropriate Balance’

Fortunato Montella is a police officer with the Borough of Stanhope in New Jersey. On September 2, 2014, Montella was conducting routine traffic stops in the Borough. After completing this assignment, he intended to drive his patrol car to the Borough-approved car wash in Roxbury, which was about 1.5 miles away. After that, he planned to take his lunch break. Montella’s sister called him as he was in the…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Award Reinstating Trooper Who Cannot Carry Gun

Following his assignment to Troop M of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Trooper Craig Acord became romantically involved with Trooper Rachel Jones. After their relationship ended in 2014, Jones filed several complaints against Acord, alleging harassing behavior. As a result, Acord was issued a Supervisor’s Notation instructing him to cease communications with Trooper Jones and was the subject of two internal and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigations relating to…

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