Boston Police Don’t Want To Re-Hire Twice-Fired Officer

In a twist, the city appeals an arbitrator's decision that gave officer David C. Williams his job back.

The saga of Boston Police Officer David C. Williams and the city of Boston continues.

Williams is the Boston Police officer the city can’t seem to split up with. Boston tried to fire Williams in January for using what it claimed was an illicit choke-hold and then lying about it. In June, an independent arbitrator forced Boston to take him back. It’s the second time since 2005 an arbitrator has compelled Boston to re-hire this cop.

In a new twist, Boston is turning to the state Superior Court in hopes of a permanent separation. The city wants the court to rule the arbitrator overstepped his authority by not allowing Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis to fire the veteran officer.

City lawyers argued the award “impermissibly exceeds the arbitrator’s power” and tramples on Davis’s authority to manage his own personnel.

Alan Shapiro, Williams’s lawyer, was not impressed by the four-page appeal.“It borders on frivolous,” Shapiro said in an interview.

Shapiro contended the arbitrator didn’t limit the commissioner’s ability to manage. Rather, he ruled on specific facts.

A Boston police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Arbitrator Michael Ryan ruled on June 20 that Williams was in the right, and that Michael O’Brien—who filed the complaint that started the series of events—was at fault for what happened during the early morning hours of March 16, 2009.

The scenario echoes 2005, when an independent arbitrator said the city was wrong to fire Williams for his role in the near fatal beating of fellow officer Michael Cox, who was mistaken for a homicide suspect.

The latest development in the Williams case comes as Davis is ordering an internal review of the work of Jerome Hall-Brewster, a recently demoted detective. The city paid $170,000 to Boston Attorney Simon Glik after he sued Hall-Brewster and other officers for not having probable cause to arrest him for taping their rough arrest of a person on the Common in 2007. (Coincidentally, O’Brien alleged Williams lunged at him as he began to tape him with a cell phone. The Glik episode resulted in Boston police reemphasizing that it is legal to use a cell phone to openly tape an officer making an arrest.)

Hall-Brewster was demoted to patrolman for allegedly not following up leads that might have led to the arrest of Edward Alemany, 28, a person of interest in the murder investigation of Amy E. Lord, 24, of South Boston. Hall-Brewster’s supervisors reportedly can expect to be quizzed by Internal Affairs and may be disciplined.