Heidt arbitration appeal ill-advised and unworthy
All too often recently, some outrageous new action makes us wonder, “What could they possibly have been thinking?”
On the national front, Andrew Wiener’s serial sexting, before and after resigning from Congress in disgrace, comes to mind, as do the sexual antics of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. On the local front, so does the McMinnville police union’s decision to appeal Tim Heidt’s dismissal from the force for a different kind of egregious, inexplicable acts of a serial nature.
What can they possibly be thinking?
To recap, without apparent provocation, Heidt launched a furious attack on a defenseless bystander at a traffic stop, breaking his arm and some of his ribs, then arrested him for resisting arrest and other charges. Because the videotape did not surface until later, he was able to tell a version inconsistent with the irrefutable video evidence.
While facing an internal affairs investigation locally and an excessive force lawsuit federally, he provoked a drunken brawl at a Seaside bar and crawled off to the wrong condo. As he tried to break in, the terrified occupant called 911. When police arrived, he was so drunk he fell backward over a picket fence and had to be taken to jail to detox.
After his conduct was condemned by an internal affairs panel and outside investigator, prosecutors advised that credibility issues would prevent them from using him as a witness in future city and county cases.
If reinstated, Heidt couldn’t reasonably be placed in direct contact with citizens, let alone jurors. Do local police really want dead weight occupying an office chair, leaving them even shorter out in the field?
It seems his firing by Chief Ron Noble should have been accepted by fellow officers as inevitable and necessary. Unfortunately, those who enforce accountability for citizens of our community don’t seem to embrace that standard for themselves.
We don’t endorse — but can’t ignore — reader comments added to our online story about the arbitration. They represent the damage now heaped on others as a result of the misguided union appeal.
The comments included:
“The entitlement mentality is alive and well in the ranks of the police union. There truly is no shame anymore.”
“The entitlement mentality and not wanting to be held accountable in some of our police and their union is worse than any welfare queen having babies with any daddy just for the benefits.”
“The Heidt incidences of violence and thuggery are embarrassments to this city. Whatever uniform he wears in the future won’t stop his bullying behavior ... To protect and serve? More like to kick, tase and maul. Oh, yeah, then lie.”
Such comments, fair or not, were predictable. A story that deserved to end has been rekindled and will continue through resolution of the case, to the detriment of Heidt and the entire department.
Damage has already been done, but a state arbitrator can limit the magnitude and duration by denying this frivolous appeal.