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CSC upholds Dalton termination — for the flawed causes

Final week, the Westover Civil Service Fee rightfully voted to uphold the termination of former Westover Police Officer Aaron Dalton. However the causes the commissioners gave — or didn’t give — is regarding.

As Erin Cleavenger reported, Dalton’s authentic dismissal by the police evaluate board was primarily based on three allegations of misconduct — two towards civilians and one towards fellow officers — however the fee didn’t agree all three had been grounds for termination.

The primary allegation stemmed from an Aug. 25, 2019, incident during which Dalton and Officer Justice Carver beat up and arrested William Cox for filming them on his cellphone as they drove by in a marked cruiser. Cox had recorded the complete encounter on his cellphone, which mysteriously disappeared for practically two years.

This resulted in one of many two civil rights lawsuits the Metropolis of Westover settled. This specific lawsuit (for false arrest) was settled for $750,000. The opposite, additionally involving Dalton, was for the violent assault and arrest of Andre Howton. In that incident, Officer Zachary Fecsko was the first assailant whereas Dalton stood by. That lawsuit was settled for $350,000.

After reviewing the proof of this allegation, the civil service fee decided that this was not grounds for termination.

The second incident occurred on Aug. 26, 2020, on the Econo Lodge when police had been in search of Travaughn Guerrant, aka “Taco,” who had an open warrant for housebreaking out of Ohio. Dalton was the highest-ranking officer on the scene, and a junior officer needed to remind Dalton that they couldn’t search the resort room with out consent or a warrant — neither of which that they had. Dalton searched the premises anyway (which is caught on police physique cam footage), in clear violation of the Fourth Modification proper towards unreasonable search and seizure.

After reviewing the proof of this allegation, the civil service fee decided that this was not grounds for termination.

The third allegation, in accordance with the fee’s report, was Dalton had exhibited a “sample of harassment, bullying, sexual harassment, racism, destruction of homeless individuals’s property, urinating on homeless individuals’s property and different violations, along with public Fb posts Dalton made whereas suspended, together with derogatory statements concerning the Westover PD as an entire and false statements about particular person coworkers.

After evaluate all of the proof and testimony associated to numerous parts of this allegation, the civil service fee discovered that Dalton “engaged in a sample of abusive habits … during which he harassed fellow officers, harassed coworkers” (not acknowledging Dalton’s abuse of homeless people). His habits towards his friends (not members of the general public), the fee decided, rose to the extent of termination.

That’s what we discover regarding.

After all, it’s unacceptable for somebody to threaten and/or harass their coworkers. And sure, that must be a fireable offense.

However for an officer of the regulation, it also needs to be a fireable offense to blatantly disregard the rights granted to civilians by the U.S. Structure. Sure, even as soon as, if it may be confirmed. And particularly if it occurs greater than as soon as.

What does it say concerning the state of our regulation enforcement that civil rights violations aren’t thought-about grounds for termination? Apparently not even suspension, seeing as the 2 officers concerned within the Cox and Howton incidents appear to have by no means confronted disciplinary motion.

When the one accountability officers face is for crimes towards one another, it’s no marvel the general public struggles to belief regulation enforcement. Westover PD — and police generally — should do higher.