The Naples Police Department is facing issues due to officers who were fired, then later rehired. They continued to commit various offenses related to falsifying records or using excessive force against suspects after regaining their jobs.
The root of the problem seems to stem from an arbitration program that lets officers appeal a decision to terminate their employment and regain their jobs. This can happen years later, and the officers can be reinstated even after they commit serious offenses related to false police reports or beatings of suspects.
Officers fired and rehired after serious misconduct
Officers from the Naples department and nearby Marco Island had been fired for a number of different reasons between 2010 and 2016. A Naples officer who lied during internal affairs investigations into misconduct multiple times was able to return to work in 2017.
A Marco Island officer named in the report turned off his body camera and beat another person during an argument at a restaurant late at night. He was initially reinstated after only completing an anger management program. The same officer was also the subject of another internal affairs investigation previously in 2008 for hitting and pulling the hair of a juvenile suspect who was face down on the ground and already restrained. He failed to file a use of force report after this incident as required by department procedures. Another serious incident involved him pulling his firearm on an elderly man who was apparently driving too slow on his way back home.
An appeals process has allowed these officers to regain their jobs after going through a controversial arbitration system, even against the wishes of their superiors. The Marco Island officer described in the story above has been fired and rehired twice over the span of six years. Critics of these systems note that about 75 percent of municipal departments around the country have some kind of similar arbitration system in place and it unfairly allows corrupt officers to regain jobs which they clearly do not deserve. Police officers in these towns also receive additional protection through a police bill of rights that requires misconduct complaints to be made within 180 days of an offense, otherwise they are dismissed.
How police get away with violence and dishonesty
As the story above demonstrates, police usually have a number of different ways to avoid serious repercussions for their misconduct and using violence against suspects.
For victims of police violence or false arrests, relying on internal affairs or a local prosecutor to discipline officers is generally not a good idea. Officers rarely face criminal charges or convictions, and internal affairs departments are often hesitant to take action against their own employees.
A civil lawsuit gives a victim much more control and a greater probability of receiving compensation after they have been injured or harmed in other ways. The burden of proof is lower in a civil trial than a criminal one, which means it is more likely for an attorney to win a civil case on behalf of the victim than for the officer to receive a criminal sentence.
Talk to a police brutality expert in your city
To receive more information about filing a lawsuit against the police, contact King Law. Sean King has been helping injured people in Naples, Marco Island, and nearby parts of Florida for years.