Police union leaders are moving forward with arbitration and are taking action against the City of Columbus. The union says there were several Due Process violations in the termination of former officer Adam Coy.
It’s been two weeks since Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus upheld Police Chief Tom Quinlan’s recommendation to terminate Coy for his role in the deadly shooting of Andre’ Hill back on December 22nd.
On Monday, FOP President Keith Ferrell said the union had filed a letter of arbitration regarding Coy’s termination after the city refused the FOP’s request for an extension on their 14-day timeline.
“Under law we’re required to make a determination based on all the facts, which we don’t have the privilege to do right now,” Ferrell explained. “That does not mean the FOP is arbitrating that case. It simply means we are waiting to find out those facts from that independent investigation that we all want, so we can make out legally bound merit decision.”
Those facts, Ferrell says, lie within the criminal investigation.
“Obviously, there’s an active criminal investigation going on that’s independent. For transparency and independency, we don’t have any part of that,” Ferrell says.
The city confirmed on Monday, Director Pettus rejected the request for an extension.
In a statement, the Public Safety Director said: “We understand the FOP’s obligation to it’s members. We have an obligation to the residents of Columbus. We are fully prepared to defend our position when arbitration is scheduled.”
According to Ferrell though, it may never get to that point.
“We very possibly may not ever arbitrate that case. But we can’t make that decision legally until we have that information,” says Ferrell.
Ferrell also detailed a grievance that was filed with the city on Monday, regarding several alleged Due Process violations that took place during Coy’s termination.
Not exclusively, Chief Quinlan’s decision to bypass a hearing with Coy before making a determination.
“There are multiple, roughly six, different articles in the contract that were violated when it came to due process in that case,” Ferrell describes. “That could be part of them, but there are several issues involved in that grievance.”
For Ferrell, the grievance isn’t about protecting Coy, rather fighting for the rights of all FOP members.
“I don’t think it would be fair for me to stand up here and tell you that officer Coy did everything right. Because I don’t know that. That wouldn’t be responsible of me to do that,” Ferrell says. “I can tell you; we are for accountability. We believe in that; I think that’s important. But we’re also in fairness. Fairness for the public, fairness for us. And I believe we all deserve that.”
Ferrell says there is also a misconception the FOP will fight for every officer on every case.
“To think that we absolutely fight for every office on every issue all the time, is absolutely not accurate,” adds Ferrell.
As the criminal investigation continues, questions remain about whether Coy should, or could, get his job back.
“I don’t think we can make that merit decision, certainly without knowing the facts,” says Ferrell. Under law we’re required to make a determination based on all the facts, which we don’t have the privilege to do right now.”