Keller Thoma Prevails in Labor Arbitration Brought by Police Officer Discharged for Excessive Force

A police officer grieved his discharge when his employer, a City, discharged him for using excessive force against a minor and violating other police department rules and regulations. The officer engaged in a traffic pursuit in which he traversed neighborhood lawns and endangered drivers on snow-covered roads. After the boy voluntarily stopped, the officer assaulted him in a parking lot and threatened him with his canine. In addition to excessive force, the City charged the officer with giving false information, such as making an announcement during the pursuit that the subject tried to “ram” his police car. The City denied the grievance and the Union proceeded to arbitration. Fellow police officers sided with the grievant during the hearing but, through detailed cross-examination and an exhaustive presentation of evidence, the City prevailed. The Arbitrator found for the City and upheld the officer’s termination.