It takes a lot to fire a cop, at least in St. Paul, thanks to the training they receive that provides a defense when they’re caught kicking an innocent person.
That, in essence, is the logic employed by arbitrator Richard J. Miller, who ruled that Brett Palkowitsch’s firing should be reversed because his actions reflected the training he received at the department.
From the Star Tribune report.
“All of the officers who testified … confirmed that they have been trained at the academy to use kicks as a use of force option,” Miller wrote, adding that an arrestee’s torso was “never construed as a ‘nonapproved target area’ as alleged by the city.”
Miller agreed that Palkowitsch, who joined the police academy in 2013, should receive a 30-day suspension without pay to keep in line with the discipline Ficcadenti received.
“Both of their actions were egregious,” Miller wrote. Miller noted that Palkowitsch’s termination was also influenced by his denial of any wrongdoing and because he “showed no remorse or compassion for Mr. Baker’s injuries.”
If this can’t get you fired in St. Paul, what can?
Let’s remember that Frank Baker, 53, didn’t do anything wrong. He was an innocent bystander. That’s why St. Paul just wrote him a check for $2 million.
“This decision, the second in three years overturning a City of St. Paul Chief of Police’s decision to terminate an officer, should put the City on notice that such a termination may not be based on feelings and emotions, but rather facts,” federation President Dave Titus said in a written statement. “Officer Palkowitsch looks forward to returning to proactively serving the citizens of St. Paul, and helping keep our streets safe.”
The facts in the case, according to the arbitrator, are that the officer was using the training he was provided by the city, training that was changed only this year.
In its arbitration documents, MPR News reported, the city said the officer is “dangerous and untrainable.”
Think about that. The city believes its police officer is dangerous to turn loose on the streets. That’s the very definition of a bad cop. And it can’t do anything about it.
The defense raises the obvious question: Isolated from significant discipline, what’s to discourage a cop in St. Paul from doing the same thing in the future?
Related: St. Paul cop who testified in police kicking incident calls it quits (Pioneer Press)