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Reverted Lieutenant Has No Claim Under California Bill Of Rights

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department rescinded the probationary promotion of Thomas Conger to lieutenant based on investigatory findings that Conger had failed to report a use of force several months earlier. Conger challenged the action through the California state court system. The California Court of Appeals upheld the Department’s decision. The key issue for the Court was whether Conger had suffered a demotion or a somewhat late “denial…

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Court Finds San Francisco Use-Of-Force Policy Not Negotiable

California has a bit of a patchwork quilt of collective bargaining laws for public employees. The Meyer-Milias-Brown Act is the state’s basic collective bargaining law, though other statewide laws exist for employees such as educational workers. Some individual cities, counties, and special districts have their own collective bargaining laws, administered by local employment relations boards or commissions. San Francisco falls into the latter category, with a highly-refined bargaining law…

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Arbitrator’s ‘Chokehold’ Opinion Upheld

As the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts charmingly started off a recent opinion: In Boston on St. Patrick’s Day in 2009, three friends, Michael O’Brien, Thomas Cincotti and Eric Leverone, “having consumed some alcohol during the daytime celebrations, proceeded to a Faneuil Hall bar where O’Brien received free drinks by virtue of knowing the staff and owners.” Because Leverone had recently returned from active military duty, patrons purchased him…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion In Deadly Force Case

On January 29, 2010, while on duty, Portland Police Officer Ron Frashour shot and killed Aaron Campbell, who was unarmed. The incident began as a welfare check. Police had received a call that Campbell, who possessed a gun and was distraught over the recent death of his brother, might be in a certain apartment, might be suicidal, and might be threatening to commit “suicide by police.” The situation escalated…

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Arbitrator’s Reinstatement Of Officer In Excessive Force Case Does Not Violate Public Policy

Officer Scott Oglesby worked for the Bloomington, Illinois Police Department and was a member of the Policemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. In May 2011, the Department terminated Oglesby after sustaining an excessive force charge against him. The underlying incident occurred in December 2010, when Oglesby responded to an incident at a local school. When Oglesby arrived at the school, he reported to the principal’s office and was directed to…

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Mandatory Post-Shooting Breathalyzer Testing of NYPD Officers is Legal

The special needs doctrine permits reasonable warrantless, suspicionless searches when there is a governmental interest that outweighs the privacy interest asserted by the person searched. In Skinner v. Railway Execs Association, 489 U.S. 602 (1989), for example, the governmental interest was ensuring that train engineers not operate locomotives while under the influence of intoxicants and that the engineers, knowing testing would occur in the event of any accident, would…

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Post-Incident Breath Test Ruled Constitutional

The unions representing New York City’s police officers, detectives, and sergeants brought a lawsuit challenging NYPD Interim Order 52, which requires that a breathalyzer test be administered to any NYPD officer involved in a shooting that results in injury or death to a person in New York City. The unions challenged the Order as an unconstitutional search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. A federal court upheld the Order,…

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Department Cannot Fire Officer Who Followed Training

On January 29, 2010, Portland, Oregon police officer Ron Frashour was one of approximately 15 officers responding to a call that an armed man, Aaron Campbell, was threatening suicide by police. Because he was certified in the AR-15 rifle, Frashour was assigned as “lethal cover” for a custody team that set up in a parking lot adjacent to the apartment where Campbell was located. During the next hour and…

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Town Not Liable For Prosecution Of Police Officer

Robert Grinham was a police sergeant in the Town of Easton, Massachusetts Police Department. As a result of a beating he gave a prisoner, which was witnessed by fellow police officers, he was ultimately fired. Grinham thrice appealed his termination, and lost at every level. Grinham was indicted by a grand jury, but was acquitted by a trial jury. Grinham then sued his supervisors, claiming that they maliciously caused…

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The Battle Of The Experts In A Shooting Case

David Garcia has been a Long Beach, California police officer since 2000. On the night of July 16, 2004, Garcia became involved with an apparently mentally disturbed individual. The encounter eventually resulted in Garcia shooting and killing the suspect. The Department convened an Officer Involved Shooting Board. By a 4-1 margin, the Board concluded that the shooting was intentional and out of policy. When the Department terminated Garcia, he…

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