MANSFIELD -- The suspension of a Mansfield police officer who dragged a handcuffed Black teenager on Oct. 12 has been shortened to 10 days from the original 60 days, Safety-Service Director Lori Cope said Wednesday.
The reduced suspension of patrol officer Jordan Moore was based on the results of the arbitration of a previous discipline case involving the officer, Cope said.
Cope said Moore, who had been suspended on Oct. 20, returned to duty on Jan. 11 and will now be paid for 50 of the 60 working days for which he was originally suspended.
On Jan. 13, an arbitrator tossed out a three-day suspension for Moore for his work work investigating a May 25, 2020, hit-skip accident.
Moore responded to the scene, picked up a damaged stop sign and stood it back in place, according to the city. He moved multiple damaged motor vehicle parts to the side of a parking lot and didn't photograph or collect evidence. The report also said Moore submitted a "property damage" report instead of the proper hit-skip crash report, resulting in his suspension.
Cope said the decision to suspend Moore for 60 days after the West Fourth Street incident in October was not based solely on that single event, which was recorded on video and seen on social media.
"It was the totality of his previous disciplinary history for related offenses, following the progressive discipline mandate in the collective bargaining agreement," Cope said. "In every situation, it is the city's full intent to follow the CBA when dealing with disciplinary issues with members of all bargaining units."
She said the arbitrator's Jan. 13 ruling nullified the short-term suspension, thus removing the progressive discipline component that allowed the 60-day suspension.
After the suspension, Moore, 24, filed a grievance regarding the punishment, saying it was "improper" and violated the "just cause progressive discipline" provision of the city's contract with the Fraternal Order of Police.
Moore is a member of the blue unit of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), William Taylor Lodge 32. In his grievance, Moore asked the "improper action" be removed from his personnel file and "be made whole all losses economic and other."
In announcing the 60-day suspension, police Chief Keith Porch said Moore violated Mansfield Police Department rules and regulations pertaining to the treatment of people in custody and unsatisfactory performance.
"It was found that Officer Moore grabbed the hooded sweatshirt of a juvenile detainee without warning or instruction to comply with orders and dragged him several feet, while he was still handcuffed and in a seated position to the rear passenger side of a patrol car, in an attempt to assist the other officers with the adult arrestee," Porch said.
"Officer Moore’s response was found to be improper which resulted in the misapplication of force used on a person that was handcuffed, in custody and offering no resistance."
A bystander recorded video of the incident, which showed the arrest of a Black Mansfield man and the 17-year-old, reportedly the man's son, who was reacting to the adult's arrest
Cope said Wednesday that Moore had agreed to the 10-day suspension for unsatisfactory performance and treatment of persons in custody and had also agreed to further training in subject control.
The safety-service director said the decision was made after her meetings with Chief Keith Porch and the Mansfield law director's office.
"The city is satisfied with a long-term suspension of 10 days, and as with any discipline, it is our hope that the behavior has been corrected and expects that it will result in no further violations," Cope said.
Moore is a Willard native who graduated from the police academy in May 2017. He was hired by the Mansfield Police Department in July 2018 after stints at the New Washington and Sandusky police departments.
During a Town Hall meeting on Oct. 23 sponsored by the Black/Brown Coalition, Alomar Davenport, the 4th Ward representative on Mansfield City Council, said the 60-day suspension was correct and cautioned residents about the power of police unions.
At the meeting, Davenport said unions are valuable tools to protect workers. However, he said police union contracts around the country afford officers a great deal of protection and that disciplinary actions are often overturned in arbitration.
"What we have to look at, and what is reality, is in these particular situations, the extent of protection in police contracts have a direct correlation to police violence and other injustices we as a community may feel at the hands of police," Davenport said.
"The mechanisms that are designed for disciplinary action are really toothless because of the ability of the (police) union to do what they are able to do. Police unions are extremely powerful here in our society," Davenport said.
"The robust protections afforded to officers like qualified immunity and things of that nature embolden them and allows them to do things (like the dragging incident on West Fourth Street) even though they see cameras there recording what they are doing. They know they are protected so they feel they can do it," Davenport said during the meeting.