Arbitrator Reinstates Euclid Officer Who Punched Suspect In Traffic Stop

Video of Michael Amiott and Richard Hubbard's traffic stop
Dashcam footage of Officer Michael Amiott and Richard Hubbard's traffic stop [City of Euclid]

A Euclid police officer got his job back after he was fired for a traffic stop in which dash cam video showed him punching a man. 

Michael Amiott was awarded back pay and had a 30-day suspension overturned after an arbitrator ruled Euclid did not have just cause to terminate Amiott for repeatedly punching Richard Hubbard in August 2017.

Amiott will get his job back if he completes 80 hours of in-class training and 60 days of field training.

In a press release, the city of Euclid says a field officer will mentor, monitor and document Amiott's performance for those 60 days. The arbitrator upheld a previous 15-day suspension and Amiott's removal from the EDGE Tactical Team. 

The charges of resisting arrest and driving without a license against Hubbard were eventually dropped.

"How can you go through a whole process and just fire the officer and give him his job back?" Hubbard said at a Monday press conference. "I just feel like the (arbitrator) put another race soldier back on the streets and I don't feel safe. My girl still got to drive me out that way, I got family out that way. I just don't feel safe with the officer back on the street."

Hubbard's attorney Christopher McNeal repeatedly blamed the system and collective bargaining rules that he says favor police in cases like this one. 

Cassandra McDonald, president of the Euclid NAACP, was also at the press conference and issued a travel advisory for Euclid. 

"This is in response to a number of complaints from residents and travelers in the area of Euclid, Ohio, and to be proactive and to act in a precautionary measure against further misconduct, abuse and violation of civil rights," McDonald said. "We suggest that you remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Likewise, if you are stopped and approached by police officers, do not make sudden moves, keep your hands visible and your insurance and license within arm's reach."

Last month, the city settled a lawsuit from Emirius Spencer, who says Amiott kicked him and broke his orbital bone during an arrest for marijuana possession in 2016. 

The Euclid NAACP on Monday also called for the firing of Officer James Aoki in a separate 2017 incident. 

Shajuan Gray sued the city and Officer Aoki last week, claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution and excessive force.

Gray says she was wearing only a bathrobe when Aoki forced his way in and arrested her over a loud music complaint, leaving her bruised, exposed and humiliated when she wasn't allowed to get dressed before she was taken to the police station. Gray was acquitted in the case. 

This summer, U.S. District Judge James Gwin dismissed a lawsuit against Euclid and two other officers in the 2017 shooting death of Luke Stewart, who was unarmed but attempting to flee in his car. Judge Gwin, however, harshly criticized Euclid's officer training in his decision.

In the press release announcing Amiott's reinstatement Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail says Euclid has implemented new programs such as the use-of-force review committee, enhanced training in areas such as community relations, de-escalation techniques, procedural justice, implicit bias, and increased proactive community engagement efforts. 

Mayor Holzheimer Gail says she was disappointed by the arbitrator's decision, but respects the process and accepts the ruling.

 

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