Transfer from K-9 Unit Overturned by Arbiatrator

Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 1997 at 12:00PM

Arbitrator Lawrence Corbett recently ruled that Oakland Police Officer Craig Chew was improperly removed from the Canine Unit. He reminded the City that; “not only have there been no complaints sustained with respect to Officer Chew, there is no way of retroactively reconstructing and investigating each incident.”

The City’s case boiled down to its essence was; “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” The Police Chief testified that when he was hired, he was told that the development of practices and procedures to avoid lawsuits was one of the most important aspects of his position. The City looked to past and pending lawsuits but provided no credible evidence that Chew was found to be liable or that his actions cost the City any settlement money.

The City also presented a plethora of statistics comparing Chew’s dog bites with other officers. They failed to present any witnesses to testify whether or not the bites were justified.

In the end, Arbitrator Corbett found that there was no proof of abuse in the use of force by Chew. He did recognize that the City has the right and the obligation to investigate and remedy Chew’s proved deficiencies when and if they can be ascertained. The award ordered Chew returned to the Canine Unit.

Chew was represented by Ron Yank of Carroll, Burdick & McDonough.

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