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WaPo: Police Chiefs Are Often Forced to Rehire Officers Fired For Misconduct

...By Police Unions/Arbitrators (thread title character limit):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/grap.../police-fired-rehired/?utm_term=.8d5637fac230
Since 2006, the nation’s largest police departments have fired at least 1,881 officers for misconduct that betrayed the public’s trust, from cheating on overtime to unjustified shootings. But The Washington Post has found that departments have been forced to reinstate more than 450 officers after appeals required by union contracts.

Most of the officers regained their jobs when police chiefs were overruled by arbitrators, typically lawyers hired to review the process. In many cases, the underlying misconduct was undisputed, but arbitrators often concluded that the firings were unjustified because departments had been too harsh, missed deadlines, lacked sufficient evidence or failed to interview witnesses.

A San Antonio police officer caught on a dash cam challenging a handcuffed man to fight him for the chance to be released was reinstated in February. In the District, an officer convicted of sexually abusing a young woman in his patrol car was ordered returned to the force in 2015. And in Boston, an officer was returned to work in 2012 despite being accused of lying, drunkenness and driving a suspected gunman from the scene of a nightclub killing.

The chiefs say the appeals process leaves little margin for error. Yet police agencies sometimes sabotage their own attempts to shed troubled officers by making procedural mistakes. The result is that police chiefs have booted hundreds of officers they have deemed unfit to be in their ranks, only to be compelled to take them back and return them to the streets with guns and badges.

“It’s demoralizing, but not just to the chief,” said Charles H. Ramsey, former police commissioner in Philadelphia and chief in the District. Philadelphia and the District together have had to rehire 80 fired officers since 2006, three of them twice.

“It’s demoralizing to the rank and file who really don’t want to have those kinds of people in their ranks,” Ramsey said. “It causes a tremendous amount of anxiety in the public. Our credibility is shot whenever these things happen.”
Nationwide, the reinstatement of fired officers has not been comprehensively studied or tracked. No national database logs terminations. Some firings receive local publicity, but many go unreported. Some states shield police personnel records — including firings — from public disclosure.

To investigate how often fired officers were returned to their jobs, The Post filed open records requests with the nation’s 55 largest municipal and county police forces. Thirty-seven departments complied with the request, disclosing that they had fired a combined 1,881 officers since 2006. Of those officers, 451 successfully appealed and won their jobs back.
In the District, arbitrators have ordered the city to rehire 39 officers since 2006, more than half of them because arbitrators concluded that the department missed deadlines to complete its internal investigations. One officer, convicted of assault after he was caught on video attacking a shoe store employee, was fired in 2015 and reinstated in 2016 after an arbitrator concluded that police had missed the deadline by seven days, arbitration records show.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said he disagreed with the arbitrators’ conclusions on when the clock started in those cases. “The public has to suffer because somebody violated an administrative rule,” Newsham said, adding that two-thirds of the officers reinstated because of missed investigative deadlines are no longer on the D.C. force.

Police unions argue that the right to appeal terminations through arbitration protects officers from arbitrary punishment or being second-guessed for their split-second decisions. Unions contend that police chiefs are prone to overreach, especially when there is public or political pressure to fire officers. In interviews, local and national union officials said some of the 451 reinstated officers should never have been fired in the first place.

“They’re held to a higher standard,” said James Pasco, executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police. “Their work is constantly scrutinized to a far higher degree. You very seldom see any phone-cam indictments of trash collectors or utility workers.”
In case after case, arbitrators have required police chiefs to take back officers the chiefs no longer want in their ranks.

In the District, police were told to rehire an officer who allegedly forged prosecutors’ signatures on court documents. In Texas, police had to reinstate an officer who was investigated for shooting up the truck driven by his ex-girlfriend’s new man. In Philadelphia, police were compelled to reinstate an officer despite viral video of him striking a woman in the face. In Florida, police were ordered to reinstate an officer fired for fatally shooting an unarmed man.

“He is being paid to protect and serve us as citizens. But he takes my child’s life,” Sheila McNeil, the mother of the man who was killed by the officer in Florida, said at a public meeting in 2015. “I don’t understand how he can still be out here on the street. What fairness is that?”

The 37 departments that reported rehiring officers have one commonality: a police union contract that guarantees an appeal of disciplinary measures.

Police unionization began around the turn of the 20th century and spread rapidly in the 1960s and ’70s as states passed laws allowing collective bargaining by public workers. Today, most public employees, including police officers, have some form of collective-bargaining rights.

On most police forces, officers accused of wrongdoing are subject to internal affairs investigations to determine whether they violated department policies. If the officers are found to have breached department policies, police chiefs, superintendents or police boards can discipline them.

The multiyear contracts negotiated by police unions ensure that any discipline may be appealed — typically through arbitration, a process that brings in outside parties, often lawyers who specialize in labor law, to review the punishments and rule on the appeals.

That is how police Sgt. John Blumenthal returned to work in Oklahoma City.

On July 7, 2007, a man was lying handcuffed on the ground when Blumenthal ran up and kicked him in the head, according to several other officers. Blumenthal’s fellow officers reported the incident to internal affairs, and months later Blumenthal was fired and convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery.

Two years later, an arbitrator ordered the department to return Blumenthal to work. The reasons are unclear, because the records of the proceedings are not public. Today, Blumenthal, who did not respond to requests for comment, is a motorcycle officer.

“The message is huge,” said Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty, who said he loses about 80 percent of arbitration cases. “Officers know all they have to do is grieve it, arbitrate it and get their jobs back.”
So much more at the link; that's all just a sampling. Very much worth reading for anyone who has the time.
 

Averon

Member
I am a strong supporter of unions in general, but police unions is one area where I can understand why some would think unions are bad.
 
Yup, this was my general experience when it came to cases with the Philadelphia Police. The police union here is incredibly strong.
 

smurfx

get some go again
I don't have the time to read this. Peace out.
plenty of time to shit post though. so i guess people have to keep paying attention in cases where it seems like the police did the right thing by firing a corrupt cop. i wish there were some sort of group that regularly monitored this stuff. like mailing citizens when a corrupt cop is let back into the force.
 

BlueTsunami

there is joy in sucking dick
“They’re held to a higher standard,” said James Pasco, executive director of the national Fraternal Order of Police. “Their work is constantly scrutinized to a far higher degree. You very seldom see any phone-cam indictments of trash collectors or utility workers.”

What The fuck.

I know its his job to schill for his union but this is straight up hilarious. This utility worker is maybe eating a sandwich outside of his mandated hourly break versus a cop sprinkling crack on the inside of a car he/she pulled over for a broken taillight.
 

rjinaz

Member
Nomination for one of the worst first posts ever.

But yeah police unions are scum and quite possibly the biggest problem.
 

KSweeley

Member
In the District, an officer convicted of sexually abusing a young woman in his patrol car was ordered returned to the force in 2015.

And I'm sure due to being a cop and the police union, he avoided being placed on the sex offender registry.
 
I don't have the time to read this. Peace out.

Did anyone ask?

Now anyone who wants to wank about "a few bad apples" needs to start considering this. Is anything actually changing if bad apples are not only not addressed but recycled back into the system? This is police departments spoiling their ranks and then wondering why the communities they're in don't trust them
 

TarNaru33

Banned
I don't have the time to read this. Peace out.

I am sorry, but Lol... The first time I seen such a posting. Legit laughed because its obviously a bannable offense.

Anyways to the topic at hand, the fact U.S has no national database or national oversight of crimes police are accused of committing is a huge reason why we will see no true police accountability. Like I feel the issue is so at large that a national organization should oversee it and making it much more easier for dealing with those who are abusing their power.

Part of the issue is the unions up north which strengthens an already strong organization to the point of being near untouchable.
 

Nepenthe

Member
So even if good cops speak up against bad cops, it's possible for the union to just be like "Mmmm, nah," and reinstate the problematic officer? I usually don't like talk of union busting, but I'd make an exception in this case.
 

Fuchsdh

Member
Nomination for one of the worst first posts ever.

But yeah police unions are scum and quite possibly the biggest problem.
It's as always a bunch of factors from the bottom and from the top, but this is one that the brass is actually against.

Unfortunately I'm not sure how you depower public worker unions, because any work stoppage comes with hugely deleterious effects compared to any other union. Unfortunately, the article doesn't offer up any solutions here, either.
 
In the District, an officer convicted of sexually abusing a young woman in his patrol car was ordered returned to the force in 2015.

Well as long as nobody put his name on Facebook I don't see the problem here

/s
 

The Llama

Member
I helped contribute to this article lol. There are supposed to be follow-ups going into more detail on a few specific cities as well.
 
Every single one of these stories is enraging. The system is designed to make it literally impossible to be a 'good cop' pushing out the bad when misconduct is witnessed.

The video of Josey’s smacking Guzman quickly went viral, and then-Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey acted quickly. He reviewed the video and the use-of-force report filled out by Josey, in which the officer said he had been trying to knock the beer out of Guzman’s hand and accidentally hit her in the face, according to a summary of the case later compiled by the city.

Four days later, on Oct. 4, Ramsey suspended Josey, concluding that he had falsified his use-of-force report by claiming he had personally seen Guzman throw beer on him and several other officers. On Nov. 1, 2012, Ramsey fired Josey for conduct unbecoming an officer and for use of excessive force.

Prosecutors charged Josey with simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor.

The charges and Josey’s firing outraged the police union and fellow officers, who packed the courtroom during the 2013 trial, according to news reports at the time. The union argued in the local news media that department leadership and prosecutors were bending to political pressure.

Other officers present that day told the judge that they heard Josey instruct Guzman to drop her beer. Josey testified at trial that he was trying to swat the beer bottle from Guzman’s hand and that at that very moment Guzman slipped on a can on the ground, according to local coverage of the trial. As she stumbled, the officer said, the swat intended for her beer bottle instead struck her face.

“The video looks disturbing but, obviously, it’s not what it appears to be,” Josey said in court. “I was kind of shocked when I saw her go to the ground. I didn’t expect to come into contact with her face.”

Judge Patrick F. Dugan ultimately concluded that Josey was not guilty.

The police union and every other cop sticking up for that abusive jerk is perfectly emblematic of why nobody in this country with any melanin in them trusts the goddamn cops.
 

The Kree

Banned
So even if good cops speak up against bad cops, it's possible for the union to just be like "Mmmm, nah," and reinstate the problematic officer? I usually don't like talk of union busting, but I'd make an exception in this case.

The unions act on behalf on police officers, so it follows that the majority of police officers want to get away with misconduct.

And now I wait for someone to tell me #notallcops.
 
Thank God for the Unions protecting these shining beacons of upstanding police officers.

I particularly like the one about the officer sexually assaulting a woman and being rehired back and obviously not on the registry. If I sexually assualt someone at work I am going to jail, having to register, and losing my job.

This some complete bullshit and is exactly supportive of the blue wall (how man colleagues of the cops have to vouch for them as well). I think the police union should be disbanded.
 

rjinaz

Member
Unions, everyone!

I work for the post office and we have unions. Yes they protect you, but, if you screw up enough, anything criminal or you get in a car accident or what not, the unions can only do so much and the post office has ultimate say and they do fire people. Same with teachers, if they get caught hitting a student or something.

So it's not really "all unions are bad" it's just this is one of the bad ones.
 

The Llama

Member
Re: the "unions are bad!" discussion, it's misplaced to blame the unions here IMO. The disciplinary structures are products of collective bargaining between the police union and the municipality, and generally call for an independent arbitrator to arbitrate the dispute. The bigger problem is that the 'independent' arbitrators are generally very pro-labor, because they typically have backgrounds in that field (whether as former union employees or as lawyers in that area). This isn't a problem limited to just police union arbitration, but with employee arbitration generally; we just don't see it as much because if, say, an electrician gets their job back through arbitration, no one cares (or we view it as a good thing because yay, someone didn't lose their job).

Now, I do agree that police unions have too much power and leverage in collective bargaining negotiations, and municipalities need to fight for collectively bargained rules which make it easier for them to get their way in disciplinary matters, but hell if I know what what the solution is.
 
Re: the "unions are bad!" discussion, it's misplaced to blame the unions here IMO. The disciplinary structures are products of collective bargaining between the police union and the municipality, and generally call for an independent arbitrator to arbitrate the dispute. The bigger problem is that the 'independent' arbitrators are generally very pro-labor, because they typically have backgrounds in that field (whether as former union employees or as lawyers in that area). This isn't a problem limited to just police union arbitration, but with employee arbitration generally; we just don't see it as much because if, say, an electrician gets their job back through arbitration, no one cares (or we view it as a good thing because yay, someone didn't lose their job).

Now, I do agree that police unions have too much power and leverage in collective bargaining negotiations, and municipalities need to fight for collectively bargained rules which make it easier for them to get their way in disciplinary matters, but hell if I know what what the solution is.

Arbitration is a problem in general. Civil arbitration involves the defendant firm picking the judge who they are paying (because that is how it works) to oversea the case. The corporation wins 99% of the time there too.


Two things to fix this: 1) repeal arbitration rules in general 2) bust the police union.
 

kirblar

Member
Don't. Unions are already fucking being beaten to death enough without the mafia know as the police unions being made the poster boy for their failures.

Unions do a lot of good, but a bad one, like this, poisons things.
All unions have downsides. Even the ones you like. Police Unions just put them on full display.

(This is not to attack unions, they do a lot of good things, but pretending they're always all sunshine is not doing anyone any favors.)
Re: the "unions are bad!" discussion, it's misplaced to blame the unions here IMO. The disciplinary structures are products of collective bargaining between the police union and the municipality, and generally call for an independent arbitrator to arbitrate the dispute. The bigger problem is that the 'independent' arbitrators are generally very pro-labor, because they typically have backgrounds in that field (whether as former union employees or as lawyers in that area). This isn't a problem limited to just police union arbitration, but with employee arbitration generally; we just don't see it as much because if, say, an electrician gets their job back through arbitration, no one cares (or we view it as a good thing because yay, someone didn't lose their job).

Now, I do agree that police unions have too much power and leverage in collective bargaining negotiations, and municipalities need to fight for collectively bargained rules which make it easier for them to get their way in disciplinary matters, but hell if I know what what the solution is.
The problem is generally the same w/ government bargaining - whether its companies or unions, the government is usually at a disadvantage.
 

L Thammy

Member
Lol. Rubbish. The whole system. Thugs.

I feel like this article is one of the worst places to post this. Here, you have members of the police who actually want to remove the thugs (or at least some of them) from the organization but are incapable of doing that. Rather than labeling the lot of them as thugs, I'd think it would be more productive to be aware of where the problems are being caused and where the work is being done to fight the problems and treat the both of them accordingly.
 
I feel like this article is one of the worst places to post this. Here, you have members of the police who actually want to remove the thugs (or at least some of them) from the organization but are incapable of doing that. Rather than labeling the lot of them as thugs, I'd think it would be more productive to be aware of where the problems are being caused and where the work is being done to fight the problems and treat the both of them accordingly.

so why is this the first we're hearing about this and none of these officers spoke out about it before
 

L Thammy

Member
Snarky❤;245336944 said:
so why is this the first we're hearing about this and none of these officers spoke out about it before

I don't know about police officers not speaking out about it before, but I typed "police unions" into Google and I immediately see articles about unions blocking reform from a year ago or earlier:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/09/19/why-are-police-unions-blocking-reform
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/joshua-ostroff/police-unions_b_12154574.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/politic...nions-keep-abusive-cops-on-the-street/383258/

So I don't think this actually is the first time we're hearing about it.
 
jesus...wouldn't even know where to start to break the PBAs back but I'd applaud the effort

This is the primary reason I'm strongly for private unions but strongly against public unions. Police unions shouldn't be allowed to exist.

as an aside: nahhhh fire/EMS ones are absolutely essential.
 

ZeroGravity

Member
I feel like this article is one of the worst places to post this. Here, you have members of the police who actually want to remove the thugs (or at least some of them) from the organization but are incapable of doing that. Rather than labeling the lot of them as thugs, I'd think it would be more productive to be aware of where the problems are being caused and where the work is being done to fight the problems and treat the both of them accordingly.
This post is far too rational for some people, unfortunately.
 

Jasconius

Member
Board reverses officer’s dismissal
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque police officer involved in one of APD’s most controversial fatal shootings was reinstated to his job Tuesday on a 3-2 vote of the city’s Personnel Board – a decision denounced by the city’s chief administrative officer as “crazy.”
Peifer did say there was evidence Dear violated department policies by not using his lapel camera, and the board voted in favor of giving him a 90-day suspension.

Of the Personnel Board’s five members, two are appointed by the mayor, two are selected by employees and then appointed by the mayor, and the fifth is chosen by those four.

Cop Fired After Fatal Shooting Gets His Job Back, Plus $140,000
Perez was terminated from the Albuquerque Police Department in 2015, after prosecutors formally charged him. The second officer, Keith Sandy, retired after the shooting. ... The second-degree murder case against the two officers ended in a mistrial last year, when jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict. Earlier this year, prosecutors said they wouldn’t retry the men.

Perez was officially reinstated in late May and is currently on administrative assignment. He will not respond to calls or provide services for one year.

These two high profile cases here in Albuquerque came to mind immediately, and I'm sure there are plenty more that go through that personnel board that don't get as much publicity...
 
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