Sunday, March 12, 2000

Court orders fired officer reinstated to police academy

The Associated Press

        DAYTON, Ohio — A state appeals court has ordered that a police officer fired after using pepper spray on a worker at a fast-food restaurant be reinstated to the Dayton Police Academy.

        Meanwhile, the city is asking the same court to overturn his full reinstatement to the police force.

        Michael McDonald, 35, was suspended without pay July 24, 1998. He was acquitted in June 1998 of a misde meanor assault charge, but police Chief Ronald Lowe fired him a few weeks later, saying Mr. McDonald's actions were callous and brutal.

        Lt. Col. John Compston said plans were being made to return Mr. McDonald to the academy Monday.

        Susan Jansen, an attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), said she was pleased with Friday's decision by the 2nd Ohio District Court of Appeals.

        The arbitrator who ordered Mr. McDonald's initial reinstatement last June said he did not use unnecessary force on the Wendy's employee and his unprofessional conduct did not justify dismissal.

        City attorneys appealed to Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Froelich, who upheld the arbitrator's decision to reinstate Mr. McDonald.

        The city said Mr. McDonald would be permitted to return to the academy, but the city asked Judge Froelich to uphold its right to postpone taking Mr. McDonald back while the city appealed Judge Froelich's decision. Mr. McDonald was already working at the academy.

        Judge Froelich granted that request, but the FOP asked the appeals court to overrule Judge Froelich on whether Mr. McDonald could return to work during further appeals.


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