VIDEO: Arbitrator Rules Department Can't Fire Cop For Winning Fight
Euclid, OH – A Euclid police officer who was fired by the mayor after he delivered body strikes during a fight with a combative suspect will be returning to the force, an arbitrator ruled on Monday (video below).
The arbitrator determined that the city “did not have just cause to terminate” Euclid Police Officer Michael Amiott, and also awarded him back pay, WJW reported.
The incident occurred just before 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2017, when Euclid police stopped 25-year-old Richard Hubbard for a traffic violation, according to WKYC.
Hubbard’s drivers license was suspended and officers ordered him out of his vehicle so that he could be placed under arrest.
After stepping out of the car, Hubbard began to resist arrest. He could be seen on the dash camera video pulling his arm away from the officer.
Cell phone footage, which did not capture the events that led up to the fight, showed officers as they struggled with Hubbard in the roadway.
The officers tried to pin the combative man face-down on the pavement, but Hubbard was able to roll onto his back, the video showed.
The video shows Hubbard with his hand on one officer’s waist near his gun, and Officer Amiott responds by throwing some hits to Hubbard’s face. While still fighting, Hubard was arguing that he didn’t have a gun and wasn’t reaching toward his waistband.
The officers were able to pin Hubbard’s left arm to the ground, but as they began to roll him onto his stomach, Hubbard pulled his arm back towards himself.
Officer Amiott delivered several more strikes to the suspect’s face and head, and was able to gain control of Hubbard’s right wrist a moment later.
Additional officers arrived at the scene and helped to hold the suspect face-down until he was secured in handcuffs.
A woman seen screaming at the officers throughout the video was also placed in handcuffs.
Hubbard was charged with driving on a suspended license and resisting arrest, WJW reported. He was evaluated for bruising before being booked.
He showed up to court wearing a neck brace, and the charges against him were later dropped.
Officer Amiott was initially suspended for 15 days by the department for excessive use of force, and another 30-day suspension was later added, WKYC reported.
On Oct. 13, 2017, Euclid Mayor Kirsten Gail announced that she had received “further complaints regarding Amiott’s professional conduct,” and fired him altogether, according to WKYC.
Officer Amiott was hired by the Euclid Police Department in 2014, after having “struggled” to “meet department standards” during his time at the Mentor Police Department, Mentor Police Chief Kevin Knight told WKYC.
Chief Knight said the officer “separated” from the Mentor Police Department after less than a year.
During his time with the Euclid Police Department, Officer Amiott was also accused of using excessive force against a 16-year-old girl and a Euclid city worker, WKYC reported.
According to WJW, the arbitrator determined that the city failed to use a gradual increase in discipline with Officer Amiott in the wake of Hubbard’s arrest.
The arbitrator upheld Officer Amiott’s removal from the department’s SWAT team, and ordered that he undergo 80 hours of use-of-force training.
Officer Amiott will also be required to work with a field training officer for up to 90 days.
Gail said she was disappointed to learn of the arbitrator’s ruling but said she would not appeal the decision.
"Policing has to be effective and perceived to be effective by all members of the community,” the mayor said, according to WJW. “Our goal remains to continuously upgrade and improve the Euclid Police Department."
"Since Patrolman Amiott’s termination in October 2017, the EPD implemented new programs such as the use of force review committee; enhanced training in areas such as community relations, de-escalation techniques, procedural justice, implicit bias; and increased proactive community engagement efforts,” she added.
County prosecutors are still reviewing the incident for possible criminal charges, WJW reported.
"We appreciate the Mayor’s respect for the process and taking this, with the union, through the binding arbitration process with a neutral arbitrator,” Fraternal Order of Police # 18 President Dave Trend told the news outlet. “We expect that Officer Amiott will do his best to serve the community upon his return.”
Hubbard’s attorney, Christopher McNeal, blasted the arbitrator’s decision and has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city on his client’s behalf.
“These bad police officers not only threaten minority communities, but they impugn the integrity of the badge,” McNeal railed.
"The mayor of Euclid took decisive action and expelled this roguish, unfit police officer and yet here we are with these unelected officials, these sycophant bootlickers, who are the enemies of justice,” he added, according to WKYC.
"I just want justice,” Hubbard said. “A charge, jail time or something for real because this ain’t gonna work.”
“It’s just crazy, how, like, how can you go through the whole the whole process and just fire an officer and give him his job back?” he told WJW.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a travel warning for the city of Euclid as news of Officer Amiott’s reinstatement spread, WKYC reported.
On Tuesday, more than two dozen protesters converged outside Euclid City Hall to demand that Officer Amiott be fired again, The Plain Dealer reported.
"We're not against police," protester Troy Harris told the news outlet. "We're not against the justice system, but what we are against are these thugs that's hiding behind police badges. That's a problem. That's an issue… Michael Amiott is a stain in this community. A stain that can't be removed unless he's out of here."
You can watch the Euclid officers’ encounter with Hubbard in the dash camera and cell phone videos below. NOTE: Multiple videos, scroll down for more: