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TERRANCE MILLER v. CITY YORK (07/02/80)

decided: July 2, 1980.

TERRANCE MILLER, APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF YORK, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Terrance M. Miller v. City of York, No. 77-S-1346.

COUNSEL

Morrison B. Williams, of counsel Daniel M. Pell, for appellant.

Donald B. Hoyt, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 484]

Terrance Miller has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County affirming the decision of the York City Council dismissing him as a city police officer. We affirm.

In November 1976, a complaint was lodged against Miller in which it was alleged that Miller had physically and verbally abused the complainant in the course of arresting him. An investigation was conducted

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 485]

    by the police department with the result that Miller was charged with violations of department regulations for the alleged physical and verbal abuse as well as for refusing an order of his superior to submit to a lie detector test and for filing a false arrest report. A hearing was held before city council, at which Miller and others testified. Miller admitted uttering racial epithets concerning, and directing profanity to, the complainant. Testimony concerning the other charges was conflicting and testimony to the effect that the complainant had agreed to take a lie detector test and a stress evaluation test but that Miller refused to do so was received.

City council found that Miller had verbally abused the complainant, a violation of department regulations relating to the subjects of conduct unbecoming an officer and of courtesy, that the evidence concerning physical abuse was inconclusive, that Miller violated department regulations by filing a false arrest report and by disobeying a written order of a superior. City council thereupon ordered Miller dismissed. In so doing it said that it had not considered the charge of disobedience in determining the penalty.

Miller appealed city council's decision to the court below which conducted a de novo hearing pursuant to Section 4408 of The Third Class City Code, Act of June 23, 1931, P.L. 932, as amended, 53 P.S. § 39408. The court upheld city council's conclusion that Miller verbally abused the complainant; however, it remanded the case to city council for a redetermination of the charge of falsifying an arrest report and for fixing punishment dependent upon the outcome of this redetermination. City council then found Miller not guilty of falsifying an arrest report but reaffirmed Miller's dismissal on the charge of verbal abuse. Miller again appealed to the lower court which, without hearing additional evidence, affirmed city council's

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 486]

    action. The court thereafter refused the prayer of Miller's ...


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