SPD union not backing down after judge overturns reinstatement of Adley Shepherd
After a superior court overturned the reinstatement of controversial police officer Adley Shepherd, the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild isn’t ready to back down.
Former SPOG president Rich O’Neill told KIRO Radio they are seeking to appeal the judge’s decision, and that the organization couldn’t believe the city appealed the arbitrator’s ruling in the first place.
“That was unprecedented — it just doesn’t happen,” he said. “Our contract that the city and (SPOG) signed together says that arbitrations will be final and binding. It’s crystal clear; those are the exact words — ‘final and binding.'”
O’Neill also worries that this sets a dangerous precedent, citing a lack of available recourse from SPD should this become the norm.
“Many, many public sector unions have ‘final and binding’ language in their contract, and the reason we have that is because we can’t strike,” he described. “It’s illegal for police and fire to strike, and nobody wants to see that changed.”
He noted that the union will appeal this all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court if need be.
SPD’s recently signed contract with the city is the backdrop for all of this, thanks to a 2012 consent decree, which a judge recently ruled the city had fallen partly out of compliance on.
That related partly to the contract, which allows for arbitration, rather than the stronger system the city had put on place. The judge specifically cited Shepherd’s case in his ruling, showing a video of the incident to the courtroom to emphasize his point regarding a system of accountability in need of improvement.
Shepherd was originally fired after punching a handcuffed woman in the back of his patrol car, before getting reinstated by an arbitrator. He defended himself shortly after the court overturned his reinstatement.
“This whole thing has been a cover up and it’s been orchestrated,” Shepherd told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show. “… All of SPD’s witnesses that they used all agreed with me that my force was necessary and within policy. For the city and the mayor to do some grandstanding, I just hope the feds come in here and really dig into what’s going on in this city.”
MyNorthwest staff contributed to this report