Colorado Police Officer Reinstated With Back Pay After Being Fired For Using Excessive Force and Breaking Six Department Policies

Aurora police officer James Waselkow has been reinstated with back pay after being fired for excessive use of force. Waselkow broke the orbital bone near the right eye of Carla Meza during an arrest and then failed to give her medical treatment. He was later fired after the Chief concluded he had used excessive force and did not have probable cause for an arrest after the domestic violence call.

Aurora’s Civil Service Commission has ordered fired police officer James Waselkow, accused of breaking six department policies, including using excessive force, be returned to his job and given back pay. The board said that it was “troubled” by the fact that Meza was seriously injured and that none of the officers rendered aid despite “obvious and serious injuries” to her. It also noted that Waselkow failed to report the injuries, failed to perform responsibilities for preliminary investigation and that he performed his job in an unsatisfactory manner. Yet, they ordered his reinstatement.

According to a ruling released this morning Waselkow did not use unreasonable force during the arrest of Carla Meza during a Feb. 12, 2009 domestic-violence call. The panel also determined that there was probable cause for her arrest.

“The evidence presented to us did not justify termination,” commission chairman Dave Williams said this morning in an interview.

The panel ordered Waselkow be docked 160 hours of pay and is requiring additional training “as deemed appropriate by his immediate supervisor.”

Waselkow was accused of kneeing or kicking Meza in the face as she was arrested. Meza suffered a broken orbital bone near her right eye. She later required surgery.

Waselkow was fired on June 24, 2010 by Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, who concluded that Meza had been arrested without a warrant, used physical force causing injury to the woman’s face and eye, failed to properly report his use of such force and failed to properly care for Meza after she was injured. Oates also said Waselkow had failed to fulfill his responsibility for a preliminary investigation and performed unsatisfactorily.

Waselkow insisted that he did not intentionally knee Meza in the eye and simply made a mistake in not realizing that she needed medical attention when he saw the blood on her and on his own hands. He testified earlier that it was also a mistake not to mention the injuries in his report. Notably, he also admitted that he had a “very thin” basis for probable cause in arresting Meza who was allegedly drunk.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates fired Waselkow in part due to his refusal to take responsibility in the matter.

This could have produced an interesting tort action to see if a civil jury agrees with these conclusions. However, Meza settled her lawsuit for $85,000.

Source: Denver Post and Reddit

29 thoughts on “Colorado Police Officer Reinstated With Back Pay After Being Fired For Using Excessive Force and Breaking Six Department Policies”

  1. no tootie, obama is just coming for you.


    (bet she looked)

  2. raff,

    Unless it is sealed…his personnel file is discoverable…I have seen a cops PF become lost…just when a Prosecutor was suing his ass for disclosure of private matters that related to criminal proceedings that the cops was trying to get prosecuted…because he was caught concealing evidence in a drug case all of his files that came from his department that had his name on were put on hold to assure that the rules of evidence and discovery were complied with….about 25 cases that were at trial, preliminary and even appeals were dismissed….needless to say….no one took cases from him anymore….

    Also, I know that was why I was asked to leave…I was told I did not belong there and it was all white people in this bar….

  3. E-Bob,

    I heard that last night…a 27 year veteran…stole almost 250k with another person and now has legal troubles of her own….foolish…she could of had her cop retirement next year…

  4. Cops: the fastest growing criminal class in America.

    The Aurora PD is surely one department ripe for abolishing. If it isn’t abolished, the people of Aurora deserve their victimizers.

    Is there any wonder why the Non-Cop gang of criminals is waging a turf war with the Cop gang this year? When the cops are as bad as the criminals, even the criminals cannot tolerate it. Maybe the Non-Cop gang sees the Cop gang as encroaching on the Non-Cop gangs traditional territory: assaults, torture, and murder?

    This could explain the recent spike in Cop-gang murders, Non-Cop gangs could be protecting their turf from what they view as a powerful rival gang. There are only so many innocent citizens to “share” among the criminal groups and brutalize. Perhaps the Non-Cop gang thinks too much competition is not good for criminal business.

    The innocent public stands between the two gangs hoping not to get brutalized by either one of them.

    I’m with Kay, Colorado looks to be very corrupt.

    This Civil Service Commission is paid by the government. They know which side their bread is buttered on. Also other cops could retaliate against commission members not voting in favor of cops.

    Get rid of that police department.

  5. All the police departments in the country have really detailed manuals on arrest procedures. The accepted procedures are standardized. They have all sorts of training materials — written, video, seminars etc. plus the have a lot of high tech recording devices.

  6. Now who exactly are the criminals….the only thing that can be said…its part of his personnel file and can be used against him as a pattern…

  7. Is their an appeals process beyond the Civil Service Commission for the Police Chief? I just can’t imagine that a true court of law would allow this guy to continue to function as a police officer. What upsets the most is that this Civil Service Commission is supposed to be the civilian oversight of rogue cops and police forces. It looks like this commission is part of the problem.

  8. The reason she had to settle her lawsuit for only $ 85, 000 is that there is no due process in court in Colorado. You pay, you go, and the Court rules without regard to the written law based on considerations not brought up, not relevant, or not allowed. The Courts don’t follow the statutory procedure. If you complain that X was supposed to happen and instead Y happen instead, the Courts declare you a vexatious litigant if you are pro se, or take away your law license if you are a lawyer.

    I sued the City of Steamboat Springs for intentional violations of my constitutional rights and federal Magistrate Schlatter ruled that they had “immunity”. He magistrate violated the magistrate’s act by ordering the defendants not to respond to my motions for summary judgment and striking my motions. The 10th Circuit upheld that.

    In court in Steamboat Springs CO on the transcript Judge James Garrecht said that there are no lawyers who would sue the City of Steamboat Springs because they are all divorce lawyers and there isn’t much money in suing governments.

    A lawyer named Mark Brennan sued the City of Denver for age discrimination in firing an older firefighter on false pretexts. They had a jury trial and won $1.5 Million. After the trial was concluded the federal judge declared the trial invalid on the basis, as I understand it, that Brennan talked too much and the court arranged to suspend his law license. If Brennan was talking too much I don’t understand why the judge didn’t deal with it at the time. By suspending his law license they removed his income plus he didn’t get paid as he was supposed to for the trial with the former firefighter. Apparently, this is supposed to teach people not to sue governments.

    Another lawyer got together 140 plaintiffs to sue the City of Denver for mold problems affecting employees at DIA. Hall & Evans, a law firm that represents cities and the State of Colorado, billed $200,000 for claiming that the lawsuit was filed too late. Two of the 140 plaintiffs were told to pay Hall & Evans the $200,000 which has caused them to lose their house.

    Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency, CIRSA, sells insurance for government official errors and government employee crimes. Their position, and the position of Hall & Evans, is that the intended beneficiaries of the insurance are the corrupt government officials and government criminals. The CRS requires local government risk sharing pools to file an annual statement as to how they handle claims but in twenty plus years the required statement has never ever been filed. CIRSA is run for the benefit of its director Tim Greer, a former Los Angeles city council member, who was not elected and not appointed by the governor. In Colorado anyone over 18 can run for city councils even if they are a convicted felon like Kevin Bennett in Steamboat Springs and there is no requirement for them to disclose their criminal record. The board of directors of CIRSA, when I could find records, was composed entirely of city council members of small cities.

    In Colorado government officials also buy insurance from Underwriters at Lloyds London that covers them in event of a lawsuit. Lloyds files no reports on its profits or on how it handles claims. I think that Lloyds pays protection to the federal judges and clerks and to the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation. I think the way that it works is that Lloyds pays the court clerks and the court clerks assign judges on Lloyds preferred lists to the cases that Lloyds has an interest in it. I know for a fact that there is a list of federal judges with comments on it that was exchanged between Hall & Evans and Lloyds because it was itemized on a verified bill that Hall & Evans sent to Underwriters at Lloyds London in Chicago.

    I spent an hour on the City of Denver website and it appears that they don’t test their police officers for use of steroids. That might have been a factor in this case or the officer might have been drunk from hanging out at strip clubs the night before.

  9. I wonder if there is a personal relationship between this cop and one or more of the Commissioners?

  10. Meza’s lawyer “wins” $85 K for Meza? Rodney king won $3 million for his broken facial bone & Meza gets $85,000?
    It appears as if Aurora’s Civil Service Commission overlooked an opportunity to award $85,000 to the cop who broke Meza’s face.

  11. A victim of domestic abuse gets further abused by one who is supposed to protect her. He rightfully gets fired but is then reinstated – with back pay, therefore, she is victimized again.

    Can the woman pursue a civil suit against this cop??

  12. I guess the best response would be.You can’t make this stuff up.

    Along with other examples of what is going on with the people who swore to protect us and what they are doing to us and getting away with.

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