An arbitrator has ruled in favor of a Philadelphia police lieutenant who in 2003 was suspended and transferred for assorted misconduct, including allegedly failing to act on a reported sexual assault of one of his officers by another officer.
Under arbitrator Jeffrey B. Tener's order, Lt. John F. Walker would regain command of the South Street Detail, be compensated for the days he was suspended and for lost overtime, and have all references to the discipline removed from his record.
Tener said the city had failed to prove any of the 23 violations Walker was charged with in an Internal Affairs investigation.
Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson had bypassed a police hearing, and suspended Walker for 30 days and transferred him back to patrol in the 39th District. A spokesman for Johnson could not be reached for comment.
Walker, who declined to comment, is now a detective in Southwest Philadelphia. He has long argued that he was the victim of a vindictive investigation.
The city has 30 days to appeal the arbitrator's Jan. 22 ruling.
The allegations stretch back to shortly after Walker took command of the South Street Detail in 1999. Many involve former Officer Jason Brearey, who was fired from the department but last July was ordered reinstated in arbitration. The city is fighting that ruling.
In one incident, Walker allegedly helped steer Brearey away from a urinalysis exam when police suspected that he might have been using cocaine. Tener noted that Walker had written a memo that prompted the screening, and that it was implausible that he would "undermine a drug test which his own memo had initiated."
In another incident, Brearey was pulled over while off-duty on suspicion of drunken driving. Walker was called to the scene and allegedly prevented Brearey from getting arrested or punished.
Tener sided with Walker's argument that he was not aware that Brearey was the driver and did not prevent the officer at the scene, Sgt. Douglas Vogelman, from arresting Brearey.
"Vogelman acknowledged that he had not handled this situation as he did most DUI stops. There are courtesies, he said," the arbitrator wrote in his 36-page opinion.
On the night of June 20, 2001, and into early June 21, colleagues held a party for Walker at Jon's Bar & Grille at Third and South Streets to celebrate his being selected to attend the FBI Academy.
Afterward, Brearey allegedly followed a female officer home and sexually assaulted her. Walker said he had found out June 26 that something might have occurred between the two officers and immediately notified his superior, Capt. John Darby.
Darby, however, said he had not been notified until Lt. Michael Chitwood informed him June 29.
In arbitration, the police union presented phone records showing Walker calling for Darby the night of June 26.
Brearey was found guilty of indecent assault in Municipal Court, but appealed to Common Pleas Court and was found not guilty. He could not be reached for comment.
Among other allegations was that Walker allowed officers to falsify overtime records and patrol logs. Tener dismissed them.