Arbitrator Orders City To Rehire Fired Police Officer

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

An Omaha Police Officer fired for his actions involving an arrest caught on video appealed the termination and now the City of Omaha has been ordered to reinstate him.

Officer Aaron Pennington was fired after a video went public of the arrest of Robert Wagner at the Creighton University Medical Center.

Wagner was taken down to the ground by several officers and on the tape, it appears as if officers are kicking and hitting Wagner. The incident happened in May 2011. The video did not surface until September.

An arbitrator ruled that the city did not have just cause to terminate Officer Pennington for Excessive Force or Conduct Unbecoming an Officer.

"This was politically motivated," said Omaha Police Union president John Wells, "That it wasn't excessive force. The video doesn't look good to the public eye but if you break it down to the components -- it is explainable -- especially to anyone who is an expert in force."

Officer Jackie Dolinsky, who also was fired for her role in the arrest, got her job back after a similar ruling in June.

Officer Pennington will get backpay for the 16-months off the job and full benefits.

Officer Wells said Pennington would unlikely return to the NE Precinct because of the controversy.

The federal arbitrator disciplined Pennington on one court. He receives a two-day suspension for not including two of the kicks given to Wagner in his official report.

Robert Wagner has filed a federal lawsuit against all the officers. He pleaded "no contest" to attempted assault for the incident and served sixty days in jail.

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