- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by reprint from Press Enterprise
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2002 at 4:46 PM
Over three years after the tragic shooting of Tyisha Miller by Riverside Police Department officers, an independent arbitrator has ruled that officers Michael Alagna and Wayne Stewart should never have been fired and every attempt should be made to repair their damaged reputations...
Officers should be reinstated, arbitrator says
TYISHA MILLER: Riverside has other options. The lawyer for the two men still dislikes the ruling.
By LISA O'NEILL HILL and PHIL PITCHFORD
RIVERSIDE - An arbitrator has found that two of the Riverside police officers who fatally shot Tyisha Miller in 1998 were wrongly fired and should be reinstated for at least six months.
The terminations of Mike Alagna and Wayne Stewart constituted "an abuse of administrative discretion" by then Police Chief Jerry Carroll, according to arbitrator Robert D. Steinberg of Culver City.
Tyisha Miller was fatally shot by Riverside police officers on Dec. 28, 1998.
The officers made some mistakes, but they were minor, correctable with better training and were "understandable" given the events that led up to the killing of the 19-year-old black woman, Steinberg wrote.
Miller's death, which put Riverside in the national spotlight, sparked allegations of racism within the force and precipitated long-term change in the department, including a court-stipulated reform agreement with the state attorney general's office.
Steinberg said the shooting was not racially motivated and the officers believed Miller would have died had they not tried to help her.
"They acted in accordance with their training and experience, and they did not deserve to have their careers and reputations ruined merely because of an adverse result," he wrote in the findings.
But Steinberg's findings, obtained by The Press-Enterprise, are far from a clear victory for the former officers, who have contested their firings for more than two years.
Although the findings spell out why Steinberg believes the decision to fire the officers was wrong, his ruling still allows the city to terminate the officers on or after April 30.
The decision is "the most incomprehensively stupid disposition of a disciplinary action that I have ever seen," said Santa Monica attorney Bill Hadden, who represents Alagna and Stewart.
City Councilman Ameal Moore, who has opposed any possibility that the officers might return to duty, said he remains confident in the decision to fire them, and the reasons Carroll gave in doing so.
"My position certainly has not changed and will not change," Moore said. "I am not for them coming back to the force, at all, period, under any circumstances. I do not believe in rewarding people for bad behavior."
Hadden contends that the facts of the case and the arbitrator's ruling that the officers did nothing substantially wrong and were unjustly fired are inconsistent with his remedy.
"It's obviously an attempt by the arbitrator to offer some kind of political solution to what is an employee discipline case. He's got no right to do that," Hadden said.
Steinberg's final report was issued Dec. 31, after the officers' attorney had appealed an earlier finding that, although the firings were wrong, the city did not have to take the former officers back.
Hadden said Steinberg's jurisdiction already had expired when he made the second ruling.
The decision is the latest twist in a saga that began when Alagna, Stewart and two other officers, Dan Hotard and Paul Bugar, shot Miller, a Rubidoux resident, on Dec. 28, 1998.
The arbitrator's ruling likely will not settle the case. The city or the officers can appeal Steinberg's decision in Superior Court. Hadden said: "Absent some immediate action by the city to bring them back to work, we will be in court very shortly."
City officials declined to discuss the arbitrator's findings, which are scheduled for discussion by the City Council in a Feb. 5 closed session.
Richard Roth, the attorney representing the city in the arbitration, is on military duty and could not be reached. Carroll, the former chief who fired the officers, also could not be reached for comment by phone or at his home.
The Rev. Bernell Butler, who acted as spokesman for Tyisha Miller's family, said the family had not heard anything.
"We'll look for the worst and hope for the best, and try to deal with whichever way it goes," Butler said. "I hope they do not get their jobs back because it would send the wrong message to police officers."
The president of the Riverside Police Officers' Association called the decision a "partial victory" for Alagna and Stewart but said it is unclear what will happen next.
"I think it's still up in the air right now. I don't feel 110 percent confident that it's been resolved," Officer Pat McCarthy said.
On Oct. 31, Steinberg ruled that the officers deserve back pay and, if they are not returned to duty, 8 1/2 months of pay as damages. He said the firing of the officers "was not for just cause and was an abuse of administrative discretion." He also found that Alagna deserved a written reprimand for standing in front of Miller's idling car when he could have been hurt or killed.
Steinberg's amended ruling on Dec. 31 determined that:
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Doxa du lobby
Tech workers organize
Architect Stephen Francis Jones
UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for
Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats
What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress??
Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée
The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
More Breaking News...