On July 19, 2013, Arbitrator Timothy Buckalew reinstated Millbury Police Detective Kimberly Brothers, who terminated in August 2012 for allegedly “harassing” three residents of the Town. Two women who had formerly dated Detective Brothers’ boyfriend, and one who had recently ended her friendship with Detective Brothers, accused Detective Brothers of either following them in a cruiser, or parking near their workplaces in order to intimidate them.
The Union, represented by Attorney Leigh Panettiere of Sandulli Grace, P.C., demonstrated at the arbitration that Det. Brothers, a busy and well-respected detective who before being promoted to detective was an extremely productive patrol officer, had been assigned to official police duties that often brought her near the homes and workplaces of the accusers. The Union was also able to present numerous instances of inconsistencies and untruths in the testimony of the three accusers, and that the accusers were all talking to each other about Det. Brothers. Additionally, the Union demonstrated that the investigator failed to inquire about any of the inconsistencies in the stories the accusers told.
The Arbitrator rejected the allegations of harassment. He called the Town’s investigation “hasty and inadequate.” He found that all three of the accusers were motivated to lie, and he found Det. Brothers to be “credible and consistent.”
The Town also accused Det. Brothers of “excessive texting,” clearly in an attempt to shore up the weak harassment allegations. The Police Department had no policy on texting. The Town never reviewed the text records of any other officer in the department, and did not even give Det. Brothers an opportunity to defend herself against this allegation during the investigation. Moreover, the Union presented testimony of fellow officers and the Chief of Police that Det. Brothers did not text on duty any more than other officers in the department. The Arbitrator credited the testimony of those witnesses, and stated, “the Town cannot not show excessive texting when it has no standard from which to argue the employee deviated.”
The Arbitrator delivered the Millbury Policy Association a resounding victory in this case, ordering Det. Brothers reinstated with full back pay and restoration of all benefits, including details and overtime. Det. Brothers returned to her Detective position on August 26, 2013. This is the third in a series of recent victories for the Millbury Police Association. The Arbitrator’s Award in the Kim Brothers case can be read here.