NBC10.com - Christine Maddela
Two Upper Darby Police officers will be back on the job on Wednesday after they were fired over the summer. NBC10's Christine Maddela asks the mayor why they were fired in the first place.
Two Upper Darby Police officers who were kicked off the force last summer will be back on the job on Wednesday, even though they’re still at the center of a criminal investigation.
Michael Givens, 39, an 8-year veteran of the force and Ryan Wisely, 32, a 7-year veteran were both fired last July for an undisclosed incident caught on video.
According to a press release issued by Upper Darby Mayor Thomas Micozzie, the firings stemmed from a June 15 incident that took place inside the Upper Darby Police station involving three juveniles. A source told NBC10’s Harry Hairston that the three juveniles were arrested for shoplifting and one of the juveniles was allegedly assaulted by an officer while in custody.
Givens and Wisely were fired last July after Superintendent Michael Chitwood made the recommendation to Mayor Micozzie. Officials did not confirm the alleged assault though the Mayor did say that the officers violated township and police department policies and procedures. The District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Unit began an investigation on the incident though the two officers have not been charged with any crimes.
An arbitration hearing was held between the police union and the township. Mayor Micozzie told NBC10 that during the course of the arbitration, “the arbitrator strongly recommended converting the terminations to disciplinary suspensions. The township consented to the arbitrator’s recommendation.”
The Mayor commented further on their reinstatement during a press conference on Tuesday.
"I respect the arbitrator's decision based on what happened in the arbitration hearing," said the Mayor. "I think they[[the officers]] also believe what they did was wrong. What it came down to is what the punishment should be for that. I've accepted that basically the 6-month term is what was due."
While Givens and Wisely will be back on duty on Wednesday, officials still have not yet revealed what the officers allegedly did in the video or the exact reason for their firing. NBC10 submitted a freedom of information request and asked the police department, mayor’s office and District Attorney’s Office for the video. We were told however that the incident is still under investigation and they don't plan on releasing it.
The District Attorney's Office is still finalizing its investigation of Givens and Wisely. Chitwood, meanwhile, says he wants the officers back on the force.
"There was a process that led to the termination," said Chitwood. "There was a process that led to their reinstatement. I'll welcome them back tomorrow morning."