Police supervisors demoted for 2012 chase get jobs back - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Police supervisors demoted for 2012 chase get jobs back

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Two people died in a high-speed pursuit around Cleveland back in 2012. Two people died in a high-speed pursuit around Cleveland back in 2012.
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The Cleveland Police Supervisors Union tells 19 Action News a sergeant fired after a massive chase that turned deadly in 2012 has been awarded his job back. [READ Full report]

Sgt. Michael Donegan had been fired for not taking more control, but is being reinstated. Capt. Ulrich Zouhar and Lt. Paul Wilson had been demoted, but will be restored to their ranks. 

The sergeant will get his job back with back pay at around $50,000, but must first work as a patrolman for a year. The demoted supervisors do not get back pay.

This comes after a 40-some page ruling by an arbitrator. The union had complained the punishment for these officers was unusually harsh, and unfair. The arbitrator also placed blame on the city for not having enough training or special equipment for chases, like road spikes. The union argued it was "the system failing the officers, rather than the officers failing the system."

A decision just released agrees. 

City Hall officials say they "are not happy with the arbitrator's decision." They feel it is wrong because procedures were not followed repeatedly. They plan to appeal. The city had argued the sergeant "saw nothing wrong" with a "pack mentality."

On November 29, 2012, police chased a car with two people from Cleveland to East Cleveland. Officers first saw the car speeding and heard what appeared to be a gunshot coming from it. The driver refused to stop, and officers reported seeing a weapon in the car, but no gun was ever found. The 28-minute chase ended with 13 officers firing 137 shots into the car, killing the driver, Timothy Russell, and the passenger, Malissa Williams.

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