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Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at: http://www.dukesblotter.com/#sthash.gzOejJCT.dpuf

Officer Down

Friday, May 10, 2013

NEWS: Arbitrator: Fired Des Plaines cop who claimed discrimination can return

--Many, many troubles in Des Plaines.
Kind of surprising to me, really. I never knew there was such distress within the ranks there.
Without any of the the circumstances of this case being available it is hard to make an informed decision on thos one.
Although it is nice to an officer come out on the right side of a weighted system.--
Duke

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Jonathan Bullington
Chicago Tribune reporter
May 11, 2013

An arbitrator has ruled that a Des Plaines police officer fired by the city in March of last year can return to the department this June, a police union attorney confirmed Friday.

The city suspended officers John Bueno and Andy Contreras in October 2011 on charges of internal misconduct, according to previous Tribune reports.

City officials have declined to say what both officers were alleged to have done. But the city fired Bueno in March 2012, and dropped the charges against Contreras in April 2012, allowing him to rejoin the police force, prior reports show.

The arbitrator ruled that Bueno, who joined the department in April 2002, could return to work in June, said attorney Keith Karlson, who represented the police union that challenged Bueno's dismissal.

Karlson declined to discuss many details of the arbitrator's 60-page-plus decision.

"The union argued, and the arbitrator agreed, that the city lacked just cause to terminate officer Bueno," Karlson said. "Officer Bueno is eager to get back to work."

Des Plaines City Manager Mike Bartholomew confirmed that the city received the arbitrator's ruling earlier this month, but would not comment on the specifics. He said the city is weighing its options with legal counsel, and plans to discuss the issue with the City Council in executive session.

The city could ask a judge to overturn the arbitrator's decision, Karlson said, adding that the burden of proof is substantial for such requests.

According to Karlson, the period of time that Bueno has been off the police force was deemed an unpaid disciplinary suspension, meaning the city is not liable for back pay.

The decision also stipulates that Bueno could be terminated if, within a three-year period, he commits an infraction similar to what allegedly led to his initial termination, Karlson said.

Bueno has been a key player in several issues plaguing the city's police department. He filed a federal discrimination suit in November 2011 claiming that a former deputy chief called him derogatory names related to his Mexican heritage, and that the discipline against him came in retaliation to his complaints.

That former deputy chief, Richard Rozkuszka, also sued the city and its former and current top officials claiming he was forced to retire as retaliation for reporting Bueno on accusations that the officer beat arrestees.

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