Our client, Michael O’Brien, speaks about the problem of disciplining police officers

We recommend that you watch this news story, “Discipline for Boston police officers frequently overturned.” The story describes how arbitrators have overturned 72 percent of the Boston Police Department’s disciplinary decisions since 2007. Under this arbitration system, even when the department terminates police officers for misconduct, the officers often win their job back. As a result, problem officers go back on the force where they can commit further misconduct.

The story includes an interview with our client, Michael O’Brien, who talks about this problem and the recent reinstatement of David Williams, the police officer who was fired after attacking Mr. O’Brien in 2009. The Boston Police Department has tried to fire Williams in two separate cases. The first case involved the near-fatal assault of undercover Boston police officer Michael Cox in 1995. The department terminated Williams, but an arbitrator overruled that decision and ordered that he rejoin the force. Back on the force, Williams assaulted and choked Mr. O’Brien, who was then a Middlesex County correctional officer. Our firm sued Williams and the City of Boston in 2009 on behalf of Mr. O’Brien. After the lawsuit settled for $1.4 million, the police department again fired Williams, but another arbitrator ruled that he must be reinstated. The City has filed an appeal in that case.

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