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Barstow Police Officer Wins Job Back

Posted on Sunday, August 01, 1999 at 12:00PM

Barstow police officer, Randy Duran, was recently terminated from employment by the chief of police after an investigation into an alleged excessive use of force. A dispute arose between a witness officer’s version of what occurred and that of Duran. Further, the suspect who filed a complaint, had a version far different than Duran or the witnessing officer. Unable to resolve the dispute, the chief decided that Duran must be the one telling the lie and therefore terminated his employment for untruthfulness. The underlying use of force was never really an issue. Only what the witness officer thought he saw was of relevance.

Duran was represented by attorney Bob Krause, Law Offices of Castle & Krause, Temecula, California, throughout these proceedings. At the very outset, Krause suggested a re-enactment and tape recording of the re-enactment by an outside agency so that the discrepancies could be fairly evaluated. This was literally one of those cases that a matter of inches in the location of the touching of the suspect was material. That is to say, grab of the throat versus upper shirt. Put another way, a “C” clamp versus, shirt grab. Krause never maintained that the witness officer was being untruthful, but rather was not in a position to accurately observe what he no doubt thought he saw. Further, Krause maintained, the “PC 647(f)” suspect was not credible on any issue.

Krause, utilizing the local rules, and the dictates of Skelly v. State Personnel Board was able to convene a hearing before the city manager. Present at this Skelly, unlike most, was the city attorney, the chief of police, the city personnel director and the city manager. Pointing out to those present that this was a rather unusual proceeding as it related to stacking the deck, Krause nevertheless pushed forward the issue of the facts of the case and pressed once again for an outside re-creation. After some days of deliberation, the city manager ordered the further investigation. The re-enactment was completed and after further deliberation the city manager issued findings reinstating Duran’s employment with no discipline action whatsoever. As Krause suspected, once a fair and impartial person took an objective view at the evidence against Duran, only one conclusion could be reached. To his credit the city manager did that and prevented an ugly full-blown hearing.

Duran is now back to work as a police officer in the City of Barstow, looking forward to a productive career. He lost no income and thanks to LDF suffered no direct attorney fees.

PORAC Legal Defense Administrator Ed Fishman Testimony: Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras.