CLEVELAND (AP) — The Ohio police union's labor council will represent a white police officer fired after punching an unarmed black man more than a dozen times in a traffic stop outside Cleveland.
Catherine Brockman, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council said Tuesday that the union will follow grievance procedures on Euclid Officer Michael Amiott's behalf. The procedures could result in a reversal of Amiott's termination through negotiations and arbitration.
"Police officers face many dangerous threats and are often forced to make split second decisions in furtherance of their duties," Brockman said in a statement. "This officer was doing just that."
Amiott was fired Friday over the Aug. 12 confrontation for use of excessive force, insubordination and other rule violations. Dashcam video showed Amiott wrestling 25-year-old Richard Hubbard III to the ground within seconds of ordering him to "face away."
Documents show Amiott violated protocol by failing to tell Hubbard he was under arrest before grabbing him, and video shows Amiott then punching Hubbard multiple times in the head as Hubbard raises his arms. Amiott said in a police report that Hubbard was "resisting in a violent manner." Hubbard has said that he did not resist arrest, and that he held up his hands to deflect Amiott's punches. Some punches came after it appeared that Hubbard had spread his arms out while passively lying on his stomach.
Cellphone video of Hubbard's arrest was viewed more than 7 million times on Facebook. It sparked outrage across the country and inflamed racial tensions in Euclid.
Amiott had been suspended for 45 days without pay after an internal hearing in August and was fired two days before he would have been allowed to return. Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail said at the time that she had received other complaints about Amiott's behavior which called his suitability as an officer into question.
Gail's office declined comment when reached Tuesday. A call to a Euclid police spokesman was not immediately returned.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office has said it's investigating the arrest and has conferred with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland.