Judge Sides With Arbitration Board In Matthew Secore Case
By Jenna Carlesso
May 27, 2011
The Hartford Police Department shouldn't have fired Officer Matthew Secore, who was arrested in connection with the assault of former Mayor Eddie Perez's nephew, but instead suspended him for three months without pay and required him to complete an anger management course, a superior court judge ruled.
In a decision dated Wednesday, Judge Robert Satter sided with the state Board of Mediation and Arbitration in ruling that the department's firing of Secore was "too severe" a penalty. Secore, who was charged with third-degree assault in 2007, was granted accelerated rehabilitation that same year, meaning his criminal record would be expunged if he successfully completed a probationary period.
Secore was fired from the police department and later reinstated after the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration ruled that the department's punishment was too harsh.
The city had filed a motion to modify or vacate the board's ruling, which Satter denied.
"This court concludes that such an award does not violate public policy," the judge wrote, referring to the board's decision.
Saundra Kee Borges, the city's corporation counsel, said Friday that she hadn't yet seen the court's ruling.
"At this point, we have not had a chance to review the decision so we cannot make a comment on it," she said.
Secore was accused in 2007 of attacking Ruben Perez, the former mayor's nephew, in a police department holding cell. Ruben Perez had been arrested in connection with the severe beating of a tow truck driver, who turned out to be Secore's brother, Slade Secore.
Slade Secore was beaten by six to eight men after attempting to tow Ruben Perez's car on a parking violation, police have said.
Matthew Secore, who was out of uniform and off duty at the time, "grabbed Perez, slammed him against a wall in the cell and punched him once," according to court papers. Secore later apologized for his actions during his sentencing.
The arbitration board later ruled that police Chief Daryl K. Roberts did not have just cause to fire Secore and ordered that he be reinstated.
"He [Secore] is to be made whole for any lost regular wages and benefits beyond the ninety days suspension until he is reinstated," the board ruled, according to court papers.