Several Philadelphia Police officers who were suspended or fired in a case of excessive force have the opportunity to get their jobs back.
Eight officers were either suspended, demoted or fired after three men alleged the cops unreasonably beat them while bringing them into custody on May 5, 2008.
Dwayne Dyches, Pete Hopkins Jr. and Brian Hall were chased by police after a triple shooting from earlier in the night. Officers caught up with the men at 2nd and Pike Streets, where they pulled them from the car and beat them.
The entire scene was caught-on-tape by Fox29’s helicopter. The hard-to-watch video prompted top brass to severely reprimand the officers involved.
Officers Patrick Gallagher, Vincent Strain, Patrick Whalen and Robert Donnelly were fired.
Officers Jonathan Czapor, Sean Bascom and Demetrious Pittaoulis were suspended for at least five days and Sgt. Joseph Schiavone was demoted.
On Friday, an arbitrator found that discipline was too severe and ruled that the officers should be reinstated and paid restitution for the time lost.
“The bottom line is that they did exactly what they were trained to do,” Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said.
McNesby says the beating video may have looked excessive to the average citizen, but that it was justified.
Six of the officers will be given restitution in the form of pay, overtime, benefits and pension payments for all the time they missed since their reprimand, Police Comm. Charles Ramsey said. Sgt. Schiavone’s demotion was also overturned.
Officers Patrick Whalen and Robert Donnelly were rookies at the time of the incident and will not automatically get their jobs back, according to Comm. Ramsey. They can reapply for the job, though.
“I don’t agree with the decision, but it is decision of the arbitrator and I respect that,” Comm. Ramsey said.
A 2009 grand jury also found that the officers’ actions did not warrant criminal charges. The three alleged suspects were also acquitted of charges related to the shooting.
“These are police officers who shouldn’t be demonized in any way,” Comm. Ramsey said. “They have a very difficult job and perhaps some mistakes were made.”
There’s no word on if the officers who were let go will take their jobs back.