Appeal from No. 3901 May Term, 1987; Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia County; Nelson A. Diaz, Judge.
Anthony J. Molloy, Jr., Mozenter, Molloy & Durst, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Ralph J. Teti, Chief Deputy City Sol., Philadelphia, for appellees.
Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, McGinley, J., and Narick, Senior Judge.
Ronald Bojanowski (Bojanowski) and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 5 (FOP) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County (common pleas court) affirming an arbitrator's award upholding Bojanowski's dismissal from the Philadelphia Police Department. We affirm.
This controversy arises out of an incident which began at approximately 11:40 p.m. on May 26, 1986, when Philadelphia (City) Police Lieutenant Thomas Barron (Barron) responded to a disturbance at 3569 Almond Street. Upon arrival at that location Barron and several other uniformed officers were met by members of the Richmond Auto Association (Auto Association). Several members of the Auto Association informed the officers that one of their members had been assaulted and another's rear automobile window had been smashed.
While the officers were taking this report, three autos drove by the men. Club members informed the officers that one of the cars, a brown Ford Granada, was the vehicle involved in the earlier assault. The officers attempted to pursue the Granada on foot, but were unable to apprehend it. The occupants of the auto were Joseph Trimback, the operator, his wife and two daughters. However, the officers were able to stop the third vehicle, a 1971 Malibu. Bojanowski, an off-duty police officer and member of the Auto Association, stopped the vehicle by standing in front of it with his .45 caliber automatic pistol drawn.
As the officers were taking the occupants into custody, they heard a screeching of tires and noticed that the Granada had made a U-turn and was returning toward them at a high rate of speed. Officer Tangradi (Tangradi) and Bojanowski ran toward the Granada, which swerved toward two civilians standing on the highway. At this point the Granada's windshield was broken by an unknown object. The Granada then backed up and turned onto the street. According to Barron, the Granada drove up on the sidewalk toward Bojanowski, forcing him into a corner formed by a
fence and garage. Bojanowski testified that he was struck and momentarily knocked onto the hood of the car. As the Granada backed off the sidewalk Tangradi fired three shots at the rear of the automobile. As the car moved away from him, Bojanowski fired six shots at the rear of the vehicle using his off-duty .45 caliber pistol. Trimback's young daughter, sitting in the back seat, suffered a gunshot wound.
The shooting incident was investigated by the District Attorney's Office. The District Attorney cleared Tangradi and Bojanowski of criminal misconduct. The Internal Affairs Division of the City Police Department also investigated the incident and filed a report with the Firearms Review Board. The board considered the location of the shell casings in the street and shot pattern on the Granada and determined that Bojanowski ran up the street firing at the rear of the automobile. After receiving the board's report, the Police Commissioner dismissed Bojanowski for violations of the deadly force policy and conduct unbecoming an officer.
The FOP filed a grievance on behalf of Bojanowski pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the FOP. After three hearings, the arbitrator concluded that Bojanowski violated the City's policy on the use of deadly force and thus his dismissal was for just cause. The FOP and Bojanowski appealed to ...