UPDATE: (9:01 a.m.) — The City of DeWitt says they don’t agree with the decision of an arbitrator that forces them to reinstate Officer Chad Vorce to the department.
Vorce was fired after an incident when he was off-duty and thought a teen was a suspect in recent break-ins, but he was actually just delivering newspapers.
The City of DeWitt said they are extremely disappointed by the decision to reinstate Vorce and said they believe his termination was justified.
However, the city said arbitrator decisions are binding under the Michigan Uniform Arbitration Act and the city is obligated to comply with the orders.
“The public should know that the City of Dewitt did not settle this case. The City elected to litigate the decision to terminate Officer Vorce and exhausted all options available through the arbitration process,” The City of DeWitt said.
In his decision, arbitrator Thomas Barnes wrote:
“Based on Grievant’s (officer) convincing testimony that he has learned his lesson; his genuine
demonstration of remorse; the fact that he has taken corrective measures; along with the devastating
effect this disciplinary action has undoubtedly had on his life, there is sufficient evidence that the
Grievant has rehabilitated so that the city can operate with reasonable assurance that the conduct will
not be repeated….
“It is clear what the Grievant did in this case violated the police department’s policies.
However, there are mitigating factors that auger in favor of recognizing this as an instance of poor
judgment that hasn’t occurred in 18 years and it’s not likely to occur again given Grievant’s recognition
of what he did wrong.”
Correction: In a release from The City of DeWitt they said “The public should know that the City of Dewitt settle this case.” The statement should have said they did not settle the case. We’ve also switched out a copy of the arbitration that was sent to us by The City of DeWitt to protect someone’s personal information.
DEWITT, Mich. (WLNS) – An off-duty DeWitt police officer that was fired after pulling a gun on a Black teen delivering newspapers is going to be reinstated.
The ruling comes from an arbitrator.
The DeWitt Police Department has been ordered to reinstate Chad Vorce within 10 days. He will get no back pay or accrued benefits from his absence, but his seniority is to be reinstated.
Vorce was also ordered to undergo sensitivity training on race.
During the incident that lead to his firing, Vorce was off-duty and thought a teen was a suspect in recent break-ins, but he was actually just delivering newspapers.
The teen was identified as Alexander Hamilton.
“I thought it was him because he fits the same description, black hoodie… Fricken black guy,” said Vorce.
That’s why Vorce said he decided to follow Hamilton.
On a recording of an MSP trooper, you can hear him repeat what Vorce said ”He told the kid right to his face, when I see a Black guy, you know I think you’re doing stuff like this,” said the trooper.
More information on Vorce’s initial firing can be read here.
The arbitration ruling can be read by clicking the download button.