Seventeen fired officers were just rehired, with back pay and restored seniority, because the city failed to tell them they were fired after the 55 day deadline.
Officials promised to be more careful about meeting deadlines after a Washington Post article revealed that more than 200 officers who were fired or suspended from 1991 to 1993 had their penalties overturned by courts or labor arbitrators because of lapses.Assistant Chief Peter Newsham, who is in charge of internal affairs, said the department had been misinterpreting the 55-day deadline. In the 1990s, the department mistakenly interpreted the time rule as a guideline, not a requirement, causing judges and arbitrators to torpedo case after case.
Fantastic. Seventeen officers who have no business having a badge get their guns, handcuffs, and authority back when they've proven they're incapable of bearing such a weighty responsibility.
Oh, hey, Peter Newsham. "Misinterpreting" something is fine once. Letting this happen again is all kinds of stupid. Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you 17 times, go fuck yourself.
In one recent case, arbitrator Michael A. Murphy sided with an officer who had been fired for taking disability leave while working at another job. Murphy ruled that the officer, Toledo Kelley, should get her job back and chastised the department for violating the 55-day rule yet again.
The city should know better, Murphy declared, citing "a cumulative series of awards, over an extended period of time, addressing the very same issue between the very same parties, and reaching a unanimous conclusion." He added that there has been an "unbroken string of precedent, spanning a period of more than twenty years."
An "unbroken string of precedent" is the perfect term to describe the city's incompetence. I need to use it more often.
All things considered, taking disability leave and lying about giving blood to get four hours off are all firable offenses, but are they really that bad in the grand scheme of things? Maybe, maybe not. But some of the other reinstated cops are monsters.
...Mannes was investigated in 2003 for retaliating against City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis, according to an arbitration filing. In police trial board proceedings, he admitted using his position as an officer to access Cherkis's personal records and posting the information on a law enforcement Web site.
So a police officer used his position of authority to harass and intimidate a journalist? I can't think of an offense short of sexual assault or murder that would be worse for a police officer to commit. Again, to reiterate, he abused his authority by obtaining Cherkis's information and then abused his authority by egging on other cops to give Cherkis a hard time. Write a negative story about MPD officers and the result is clear, the cops will fuck with you.
This treatment of the Fourth Estate is a big deal. It undercuts the very values that we share as Americans. When someone in authority fucks up, the media has to be there to point it out. When asshole cops start monkeying with a free press, when authoritative figures use intimidation to disembowel the people's right to know, then we as DC residents are totally boned. We depend on a free press just as much as we depend on cops. If a cop can pull something so outlandishly corrupt and evil and keep his job, it really makes you think of the other things DC cops are capable of without being shown the door.
You'd think the MPD would take special care to make sure this asshole loses his job. The MPD failed in that regard and failed the people they're supposed to protect. Bone chilling.
And if Officer Mannes ever shows up on my doorstep, I would gladly sacrifice a frog march to tell him that's he a worthless piece of shit.