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Friday, May 23, 2008

Reinstated D.C. cops may be fired again

Radio WTOP - by Mark Segraves - May 23, 2008

WASHINGTON - The 20 fired D.C. Police officers who were reinstated because of a technicality may be fired again -- this time permanently. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has begun administrative action against the reinstated officers who were originally dismissed for misconduct. She is relying on an opinion from D.C.'s Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles who says the District's personnel laws and rules would allow for the firing of the officers. "We're talking about serious offenses," says Lanier. "These cases raise profound issues of public safety in the District. We can't have officers testifying in court when their credibility can't be trusted." Lanier says she had no choice but to rehire the officers earlier this week. The firings were overruled by court judges and arbitrators because the internal affairs unit missed the 55-day deadlines for the final decisions on sanctions.

Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee, says the Mayor and Chief signed off on the deal to reinstate these officers, and have now gone back on their word. The union is considering filing an unfair labor practice suit. Lanier says the errors occurred before she took over the department in December 2006. According to court and arbitration records, the officers had been dismissed for such violations as falsifying documents and lying about their working hours. One officer accessed private information about journalist, posted it on the Internet and suggested other officers investigate that person.

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