Officer Bales and Craig Driskell
A Temple police officer who intervened to protect civilians from being spat on by an unruly shoplifting suspect was awarded his job back after an arbitration hearing.
The officer, Casey Bales, was represented by CLEAT Staff Attorney Craig Driskell. Bales was called to a department store in May 2013 to assist a fellow officer who had been assaulted by the suspect. Once the suspect was subdued, handcuffed and detained in the store’s loss-prevention office, the suspect spit several times and used abusive language toward those present.
The incident was recorded by security video.
Officer Bales was called to the room and made a split-second decision to take the suspect to the floor to prevent him from spitting on anyone.
The department said such action was not warranted and fired him.
Driskell, using witness testimony at the arbitration hearing, pointed out that spitting is a form assault, and can lead to the spread of disease.
The arbitrator agreed, saying it would be wrong to second-guess the split-second decision to act.
“Bales had a legitimate concern over the spitting, and reasonably believed that he needed to intervene to protect the individuals present in the security office,” the arbitrator said in his report reinstating the officer.