Mpls. cop fired over pushing a woman will get his job back

There are some mixed feelings about his return.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

An arbitrator has ordered the city of Minneapolis to give a former cop his job back.

According to arbitration documents, the city fired Officer Blayne Lehner "without just cause," even though the city argues Lehner violated the department's use of force policies.

Why Lehner lost his job

Arbitration documents say Lehner – who'd been working as a Minneapolis police officer since 1998 – responded to an apartment building on a domestic disturbance call.

According to the documents:

When Lehner and his partner arrived, they found two women yelling at each other.

The officers separated the women, with Lehner bringing a woman he described as "out of control" and "intoxicated" out to the hallway.

At one point, she tried to push past Lehner. That's when a witness claimed she heard the officer call the woman a vulgar name.

Meanwhile, the other woman packed her things and left the apartment.

Eventually, Lehner brought the woman he had been watching back into the apartment and asked her to stay there. However, when the officers made it to the building's exit, the woman followed.

Video footage reportedly shows Lehner pushing the woman, causing her to stumble backwards and fall over some hallway steps.

The footage isn't clear, but the city argued that Lehner grabbed the woman by the throat. However, he and the police union – the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis – say he swatted the woman's phone out of her hand after she refused to comply with orders. The woman then grabbed Lehner's hand, and he responded by pushing her to the ground.

The Office of Police Conduct Review later decided Lehner had committed three policy violations: Use of force, not reporting the incident correctly, and using inappropriate language.

He was placed on administrative leave in Sept. 2015 and terminated in Jan. 2016.

What happens now?

The arbitration documents say that instead of being fired, Lehner should serve be suspended for 40 hours without pay. He's also to be paid back for some of the time he missed.

Union president Lt. Bob Kroll told WCCO they're "very happy with the outcome.” And that “the citizens are lucky he’s back at work.”

However, KARE 11 reports Police Chief Janee Harteau was disappointed with the decision.

“These rulings hinder my ability, as a Police Chief, to create an effective culture of accountability within the Department,” Harteau said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department told the Star Tribune they haven't decided exactly when Lehner will be back at work or what job he'll be taking.

Next Up

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Flickr - smoke McGregor minnesota wildfire July 29 2021 - Lorie Shaull

'Unprecedented': The wildfire smoke isn't going anywhere this weekend

The air quality alert that was supposed to end Friday is now in effect into early next week.

Alexis Saborit

Charges: Woman killed in horrific Shakopee attack was trying to leave suspect

The shocking incident happened at an intersection Wednesday afternoon.

3M Open, Tony Finau

Multiple injuries after pickup crashes into shuttle bus at 3M Open

Blaine police listed 25 people as being involved in the collision.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Teen arrested in connection to recent St. Cloud shootings

The shootings, which occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, did not result in injury or property damage.

Related

No charges for Richfield cop in video that shows teen getting pushed, hit

The Twin Cities cop who was captured in a video apparently smacking a teen upside the head will not be charged in the incident.

Richfield police have to rehire a cop who hit a teenager

"We do not agree with this decision nor do we condone this type of behavior," Police Chief Jay Henthorne said.

Video: Castile's family talks about the 'landmark decision' to bring charges

Philando Castile's family supports the decision to charge the officer Yanez with second-degree manslaughter.

Man who shot law clerk dead in St. Paul gets life without parole

A man will spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally shot a St. Paul law clerk after he couldn't get a hold of his lawyer.

MN lawyer charged with being part of a porn trolling scheme

Two lawyers are accused of threatening people with lawsuits to get money.

Woman paralyzed in a crash with a school bus is awarded $28.6 million

Paige Anderson has been quadriplegic ever since the 2009 crash.