The City of San Luis Obispo will defend itself against a civil petition from a former patrol officer, who was terminated after his arrest for bringing misbranded pharmaceuticals across the Mexico border, according to City Attorney Christine Dietrick.
Following an Aug. 20 closed session meeting, Dietrick reported that the council voted 4-1, with Councilman Dan Carpenter in the minority, to authorize the city to defend against what could become a civil lawsuit, the last option available to him for reinstatement.
Dietrick told New Times in an e-mail that she and Assistant City Attorney Andrea Visveshwara will handle the case primarily in-house, though they may consult with the outside counsel who handled the officer’s administrative hearing.
“… I anticipate any additional costs being negligible, absent any other major in-house litigation arising in the interim that would cause us to reevaluate our resources,” Dietrick wrote.
On July 31, former officer Dan McDow, a seven-year veteran of the department at the time of his termination, filed a petition for writ of mandate in SLO Superior Court, claiming his due process rights were violated and that the punishment was “patently excessive,” according to the document.
McDow is seeking reinstatement to his prior rank, full back pay, and the deletion of any mention of the matter on his personnel record. He is being represented by a California law firm specializing in defending police officers. While on paid administrative leave for 11 months following his arrest, McDow was paid $150,530.
Following the meeting, Carpenter said he’s restricted by what he can say, but told New Times that he couldn’t support the city’s lack of consistency in dealing with public safety employees.