MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An arbitrator has upheld the Minneapolis Police Department's decision to fire an officer in July after it deemed his Facebook posts to be racist.
However, the arbitrator said on Friday he sided with the police department based on the “awkward twist” that the former officer's "believability and credibility" was damaged by his decision to insist he could rejoin patrol duty while at the same time pursuing a disability claim, the Star Tribune reported. The former officer, Jess L. Crofton, was fired last year after a city employee complained that eight of his Facebook posts were “inappropriate” because they maligned Muslims.
A conduct review panel concluded in 2018 that the posts violated the Minnesota Law Enforcement Ethics Code. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo had testified that Crofton seemed to “pick out Muslim Americans, African Americans” in his comments.
Crofton’s attorney had argued that the posts were not “insensitive or biased” and were made while he was off-duty.
During the course of arbitration, it was revealed that Crofton had been pursuing disability benefits for an injury he said occurred in October 2020 — months after he was fired.