Friday, January 11, 2013

Labor Arbitration in the News

Police officer's reinstatement overturned by court

According to a report in the Tulsa World, a Tulsa County judge has overturned an award of Arbitrator Edward Valverde (discussed here) reinstating a police officer whose employment had been terminated for alleged use of excessive force. According to the report, the Judge concluded that reinstating the officer would pose "a special risk of injury, physical and psychological, to citizens and, if he is allowed reinstatement, the department will be faced with explaining why Owasso allows abusive conduct by its officers, which is against the law." Owasso officer's return would pose 'special risk'. Arbitrator Valverde had found that while the officer had used unreasonable and unnecessary force , it did not rise to the level of "excessive force". The article links to a video of the incident in issue.

City failed to establish police officer's excessive use of force

Arbitrator Sharon Imes has upheld the grievance filed on behalf of a City of Omaha police  officer who had been terminated for alleged excessive use of force. The grievant had been involved, with other officers, in the arrest of an individual at a hospital where a crowd had gathered after the shooting of a reputed gang member. A number of officers were involved in the arrest, and grievant and another officer were ultimately terminated after an internal investigation and a review of a video capturing part of the arrest. While the Police Chief maintained that grievant had punched and kicked the arrestee, using unnecessary  and excessive force, the Arbitrator concluded that the City had failed to meet its burden of establishing that grievant had in fact engaged in inappropriate conduct. The Arbitrator further concluded that the video of the arrest was inconclusive. Arbitrator Imes had previously sustained a grievance filed by another officer also terminated for alleged use of excessive force in the same arrest. reports on the decision, Omaha officer fired in controversial arrest to return to force, and links to the awards in both cases here. The report also links to a video of the arrest.

Arbitrator rejects claim of excessive force by Bloomington, IN police officer

Arbitrator Jeanne Vonhof has sustained in large part a grievance filed by a Bloomington police officer who had been terminated for allegedly trying to choke a special needs child, according to a report in Arbitrator: BPD officer fired after incident with special-needs student should be rehired. According to the report, Arbitrator Vonhof concluded that the evidence failed to establish improper use of excessive force, but upheld a one day suspension for the officer's failure to file a report on the incident.

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