St. Louis PD fights to keep officer accused of misconduct off th - KMOV.com

St. Louis PD fights to keep officer accused of misconduct off the force

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Officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said they are fighting against the reinstatement of Matthew Schanz, following accusations of  misconduct and domestic violence. Officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said they are fighting against the reinstatement of Matthew Schanz, following accusations of misconduct and domestic violence.

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – The City of St. Louis and Chief Sam Dotson are fighting to keep a former police officer from returning to work.

In 2013, Matthew Schanz was fired from the department after he was charged with assaulting his domestic partner and resisting arrest. Schanz then appealed the decision to the Civil Service Commission, which decided to alter the punishment and voted to reinstate him.

The city is now suing the commission over their decision to place him officer back on the force.

According to court documents in February 2013, Schanz assaulted his domestic partner, choking him and slamming him against a wall. Then he led police on a short pursuit.

Criminal charges were dismissed by the Circuit Attorney’s office; however, the commission found him guilty of violating the department’s code of conduct.

Schanz’s attorney, John Bouhasin, says termination was not the appropriate punishment.

“The facts that were presented in this case clearly show that officer Schanz acted in self-defense in his own home,” Bouhasin said.

The Civil Service Commission which serves as the disciplinary board for the department voted 2-1 to reinstate Schanz.

“Matt has trained his whole life, dedicated his life to be a police officer, that’s the only thing he knows how to do, that he wants to do, Matt wants his named cleared,” said Bouhasin.

Public Safety Director Richard Gray said officers must be held to a higher standard.

“We have zero tolerance for anyone that violates the law the way he did. When we have an officer that's found to have lied, to run from police, those are things we just can’t have,” said Gray.

The lawsuit claims if Schanz returns to the department, it will “jeopardize the safety and security of the public and the police officers with whom he would be working.”

The decision now rests in the hands of a judge.

If a judge does rule in favor of Schanz’s reinstatement the department will be forced to pay a year and a half of back pay.

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