eric werner01.jpg
The long tale of former Seattle Police Officer Eric Werner and his fight against being fired for lying has finally come to an end.

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Court to SPD Chief: Yes, You Are Free to Fire Officers Who Lie

eric werner01.jpg
The long tale of former Seattle Police Officer Eric Werner and his fight against being fired for lying has finally come to an end.

Werner was fired by SPD Chief John Diaz in 2007 after he punched a man in the face, then lied about it later.

After Werner was fired, he appealed his termination to the city's Public Safety Civil Service Commission, which in turn found that SPD had not applied its "honesty rule" evenhandedly.

On Monday, the State Court of Appeals found that, in fact, Werner's firing was quite evenhanded.

From the ruling:

The commission's finding of uneven discipline is not supported by substantial evidence. We deny Werner's request to reinstate the commission decision.

Warner's case had been the only real test to SPD's 2008 adoption of the aforementioned "honesty rule," which expressly stated that officers could be fired for lying about their actions.

The PSCSC had overturned Diaz's decision to fire Werner, citing other cases involving officer dishonesty in which officers hadn't been fired. The appeals court looked at those cases and found that they were like comparing apples and oranges because the evidence and the circumstances were far different.

At heart was an incident in which Werner punched a man in the face after he complained about being Tasered. In the subsequent Office of Professional Accountability investigation, Werner denied ever punching the man. But when he applied for a job with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and was given a polygraph test, he admitted to the punch, and the lie.

A psychologist later concluded that Werner showed a "consistent pattern of dishonesty."

By affirming Diaz's ability to fire lying officers, the court has affirmed the fact that SPD's honesty rule is a rule and not just a suggestion.

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