Reyes petitions to get job back

A former police detective is challenging in court a decision by the Burbank City Manager to not reinstate him, citing an independent arbitrator’s recommendation that he should get his job back, records show.

Former Det. Mike Reyes was fired in June 2010 after city officials accused him of failing to report a use-of-force complaint reported to him by a suspect tied to a robbery at Porto’s Bakery in 2007, and lying about it a year and a half later to cover up the alleged misconduct.

In a petition for a writ of mandate filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this week, Reyes argued he should be reinstated as a police officer because the arbitrator ruled that he was not terminated for just cause.

Reyes, who joined the Burbank force in 2000 after five years with the Los Angeles Police Department, is also requesting “all benefits lost, including lost pay, with interest, and other benefits of employment,” according to the petition.

The case spans back to seven years ago, when Reyes interviewed a suspect thought to be tied to the 2007 Porto’s robbery who reportedly complained to Reyes of excessive force by other officers. The man turned out not to be connected to the robbery, as he was confused with someone with a similar name.

In April 2009, another detective came forward with information suggesting officers allegedly used excessive force during the robbery investigation and then attempted to cover up the misconduct during initial internal affairs investigations.

When Reyes was interviewed 18 months after the incident, he couldn’t recall details of the case, but testified that if he had been alerted to a use-of-force complaint, he would have told his sergeant, arbitration records show.

Arbitrator Michael Prihar said in his decision that Reyes’ testimony was genuine and credible. He noted that Reyes had not been interviewed during the initial investigation, and his failure to recall the events were consistent with the passage of time.

City Manager Mark Scott, however, wrote in his decision that he did not find Reyes to be credible, and is convinced Reyes chose to maintain silence, “thereby covering up allegations of unnecessary force by another officer.”

City Attorney Amy Albano said Wednesday the city had not yet been served with the petition, but that Scott’s decision was “well-reasoned” and speaks for itself.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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