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  • Cleared, but not cleared?

    I'm looking for any advice if you have been through a similar ordeal:

    My department launched a use of force investigation against me last November due to the fact that I used my streamlight as an impact weapon, while trying to secure the passenger during a felony stop. While giving multple verbal commands to the subject he continued to resist my attempt to secure him, which lead me to strike him once on the tricep and once on the quadracep. Afterwards, he was secured with handcuffs and NO further force was used. (All captured on video).

    The man still to this day has not filed a complaint and has stated to IAD that he was NOT injured. The best part about this is that SIX supervisors, from sergeant to captain have all reviewed the tape and reported that it was JUSTIFIED. Now, eight months later, the brass, who had previsously said, it was a justifiable use of force have now completely reveresd their finding and I am being fired. As one additional point, I have never had a sustained complaint of any kind, nor have I ever been disciplined.

    If you have, "been there, done that" or have any words of advice, please contact me.

    VSP 1186

  • #2
    JTA... I have a friend who is/was involved in a similar situation. He was involved in a shooting over a year ago. Responded to a call of a mentally ill person yelling, screaming, etc at the local hospital. Got there, and the guy went bizurk. He started running around like an animal. He also had a small child (8 months old) in his arms. He was not yielding to the officers verbal commands. He then started to run away when he was being approached by officers. He was dragging the baby along the asphault at this time. Officer made the decision to fire upon the subject. He struck the subject once in the lower right *** cheek. The State Attorney investigated and found the officer was justified. The department still has not cleared him... A YEAR LATER. Get your union involved. Out of curiousity, does your SOP prohibit the use of your flashlight as a weapon?
    In law enforcement, the customer is ALWAYS wrong.

    In God we trust. Everyone else is run through NCIC.

    Sometimes there is justice. Sometimes there is just us.

    I'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.


    The opinions given in my posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only.

    Comment


    • #3
      Unfortunately, VA is a right to work state and the unions that we do have do not carry ANY weight so that is not really an option.

      As far as the flashlight goes, I have a good friend that I work with who was involved in a similar incident and was disciplined for using his light in taking down a subject that would not yield after running from the area of a shots fired call. He was not fired, which I think is a bit excessive, especially considering the shortages that VSP is facing these days.

      I would check your UOF policy on impact weapons and recheck how you articulated your actions in your report. If it were a situation where you felt the immediate need to gain compliance and did not have time to transition to your ASP and or use of a flashlight is not strictly forbidden in policy then you should have a case. I would appeal the decision to the colonel if needed and possibly seek out a labor attorney.

      If worse comes to worst I am sure that coming from VSP you shouldn't have too much trouble getting another job with an explaination.

      Good luck bro.

      BTW, if you are a VCOPS or FOP member they should cover your atorney, if not, then contact either organization and ask for referrals for a good labor attorney who handles LE issues.

      -web
      "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

      Comment


      • #4
        A good example of why cops need to belong to a strong union. I'm curious what your departments justification for this 180 is. I would see a lawyer ASAP.

        Comment


        • #5
          The first question that comes to my mind is "WHY" did they reverse their findings? Did new evidence surface that contradicted your report? From my experience, it is highly unlikey that ALL of them would reverse their decision without a logical reason.
          Retired

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by webjeep
            Unfortunately, VA is a right to work state and the unions that we do have do not carry ANY weight so that is not really an option.
            florida is a "right to work" state as well. however, somehow, our unions were able to gain power. id still contact the union in addition to a lawyer. if your department doesnt have a union, this is a textbook reason why it should.
            "The American public will find it refreshing to see a Republican candidate, who's not a moralistic, sexually repressed, crusading hypocrite, who cruises airport men's rooms late at night."
            William Shatner

            Comment


            • #7
              Another question: Was their original finding documented? If so I would obtain a copy ASAP before it gets "lost".
              You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Centurion44
                Another question: Was their original finding documented? If so I would obtain a copy ASAP before it gets "lost".
                Excellent point. I have seen that happen more than once.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Centurion44
                  Another question: Was their original finding documented? If so I would obtain a copy ASAP before it gets "lost".
                  I would assume that he should have received a copy of the findings. I have never encountered a situation in my department where an IA investigation report has conveniently been lost. All of our IA investigation require a file number, and a review.
                  Retired

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    flashlight as an impact weapon.......

                    Well, In NC, most supervisors do not condone the use of a mag light or stream light as an impact weapon, but in your defense, if you can atriculate that you used it as you would your asp baton and struck in areas that you were trained in to control the subject, then you should have no worries, at least thats what happened with me, i had my 6 cell streamlight, and while conducting my field interview with my suspect he decided he wanted to "buck" on me, so being that i could explain that i had no time to react by utilizing my expandable baton, i used my streamlight, but clearly stated that the points of impact were the same points that i was trained in the academy to strike a subject at while trying to control and arrest. and since VA is like NC a right to work state....if the brass decide to F**K you over....nothing you can do about saving your job.
                    Those that do evil to innocent people,The Robbers, Murderers, Rapists, Pimps, Prostitutes, The Simps, Sadists, Sinners, You will come to know me well, I am The Punisher.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have used my flashlight as an impact weapon. Another poster mentioned there wasn't time to draw his Asp baton, and I had a similar situation.

                      It came dome to "weapon of choice vs weapon of opportunity" - was your intention of having your flashlight intending to strike the offender - the answer is no. But, in the split second he decided to resist you had no choice but to use your flashlight as an intermediate impact weapon.

                      The only thing I would (as a supervisor) have a problem with, was no use of force was documented.

                      if the video is still around save it, any reports or documentation you and the department has, and seek a lawyer- quick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by APDSgt

                        The only thing I would (as a supervisor) have a problem with, was no use of force was documented.

                        if the video is still around save it, any reports or documentation you and the department has, and seek a lawyer- quick.
                        I didn't read that he didn't document the use of his force. Since the suspect didn't make a complaint, I assume the officer documented it for the supervisors to review.
                        Retired

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by retired
                          I would assume that he should have received a copy of the findings. I have never encountered a situation in my department where an IA investigation report has conveniently been lost. All of our IA investigation require a file number, and a review.
                          I can tell you what I have seen. One version is sent up the chain exonerating the officer. It comes back with a note on it from a member of the command staff for a different disposition hammering the officer. Original version exonerating the officer goes in shredder, new version hammering the officer goes back up the chain for everyone to sign off. Ive seen it with my own eyes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Have you ****ed someone off?? As disipline should be progressive, and as "first time" if they are that unhappy about it they should give you a written warning or some training. Firing you is a bit much.

                            I would think it's easier to fight to keep your job, rather than fighting to get it back. So, I would consider getting a lawyer and having them request the original documnets. They may back off once they realize you aren't screwing around.

                            Are you suspended right? Are you being paid? If you have been suspended without that would be considered constructive dismissal and you have another lawsuit.

                            Everyone answers to someone, and throwing away the departments money on defending a bull**** firing may have someone higher up the food chain looking for a new job as well.

                            Good luck to you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Stan Switek
                              I can tell you what I have seen. One version is sent up the chain exonerating the officer. It comes back with a note on it from a member of the command staff for a different disposition hammering the officer. Original version exonerating the officer goes in shredder, new version hammering the officer goes back up the chain for everyone to sign off. Ive seen it with my own eyes.
                              I've never experienced that, but in any event, he said they decided to fire him eight months after the initial investigation. That leads me to believe that he should already have a copy of the original findings even if they decided at a later date to change their decision based on new evidence. IA cases as you well know, can and have been re-opened based on new information.
                              Retired

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