THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
A Toledo police patrolman who was fired early last year after his ex-wife filed complaints has been reinstated by an arbitrator to his job with full back pay.
Jamie Brown of Toledo was with the department for two years when he was fired on April 26, 2013. He was one of 30 officers to graduate from the Toledo Police Academy on April 12, 2011.
An internal affairs investigation determined Mr. Brown misused a law enforcement database, initiated a traffic stop for personal reasons, did not record the traffic stop, behaved inappropriately, left his assigned duty station, and lied.
The Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association appealed. Donato Iorio, an attorney for the TPPA, said the union was “elated that this miscarriage of justice has been rectified.”
“Officer Brown was terminated for two allegations of dishonesty, one when [internal affairs officers] questioned and asked him a very clumsy question — ‘Did you run the plate?’” Mr. Iorio said.
Arbitrator Mario Chiesa, in a 38-page decision, awarded the officer full back pay but imposed a 20-day unpaid suspension.
The arbitrator said the suspension was based in part on the charge being absent from his assigned beat and for conduct unbecoming of an officer.
“The employer did not have just cause to terminate the grievant's employment,” Mr. Chiesa wrote.
A probe began in late November or early December, after he reportedly used an electronic database, available to law enforcement agencies, to run a license plate of a vehicle parked outside of his ex-wife’s home, police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.
The database is to be used only when there is probable criminal cause, Sergeant Heffernan said.
Not long after running the plate, Mr. Brown saw the vehicle during a work shift and stopped the driver.
Although the driver was issued a citation for a license-plate light violation, investigators believe the stop was initiated for personal reasons, the sergeant said.
The traffic stop was not recorded, which earned the officer another internal charge.
On Dec. 11, Mr. Brown’s ex-wife, Misty Gilbert-Brown of Curtice, Ohio, was stopped in East Toledo and arrested for driving under the influence.
Per departmental policy, Ms. Gilbert-Brown was taken to the downtown Safety Building for a breath test.
Mr. Brown learned that his ex-wife was there, left his assigned beat and, without permission, went downtown and had “words” with her, Sergeant Heffernan said.
Six charges were brought against Mr. Brown: dishonesty, abuse of authority in dealing with the public, dissemination and transmission of [law enforcement database] information, violation of operations manual directive for the in-car video systems, conduct unbecoming an officer, and absence from duty station.