A police officer from suburban Detroit has been rehired against the wishes of her superiors, who fired her after she was caught on tape forcibly cutting a young hairdresser’s weave during an arrest, according to Raw Story, which cited a report by the Macomb Daily.
Bernadette Najor was fired last year from the Warren Police Department in Michigan after the November 2013 incident, the report says. Security-camera footage showed Najor cutting the hair of Charda Gregory, 22, in a seemingly violent encounter. Gregory was sitting in a restraint chair, having been shoved into it by Najor and secured by several officers. The officer’s use of force was not documented in the original incident report, Raw Story says.
Najor was fired a month later, after Deputy Police Commissioner Louis Galasso reviewed the footage, which does not include sound. An internal investigation accused Najor of conduct unbecoming an officer, failing to foster public respect and cooperation, and unnecessary use of force, among other policy violations, the report says. The city paid Gregory a $75,000 settlement and dropped the charges against her. Najor’s firing was not part of the settlement.
Najor contested the decision, telling an arbitrator that she was following police procedure in cutting Gregory’s hair because the weave was “loosely tied in with loops” and thus not “permanently attached” to her head, the report says. The arbitrator, Nora Lynch, ruled recently that Najor should be rehired with back pay and benefits, saying that her supervisors had carried out a biased investigation into the incident, the report says.
“To view the video without the benefit of an audio component and without carefully weighing the accounts of officers who were present does not reflect the reality of what occurred,” Lynch wrote in a 26-page decision, the news outlet writes. “The officers, who were interviewed separately, gave consistent accounts, agreeing that the prisoner was combative and resistant and their actions to control her did not involve the use of excessive force.”
Read more at Raw Story.