Supporters turn out for fired Ft. Myers cop

Dave Culbreth

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Supporters turn out for fired Ft. Myers cop

CREATED Aug. 13, 2013

Fort Myers, Fla. -

Several dozen supporters showed up Tuesday night to see what the Citizens Police Review Board had to say about fired police officer Trevor Lehman. He was fired in July for an incident that happened in February. Chief Doug Baker cited the use of excessive force in firing Lehman after all four of his top commanders recommended not terminating him. Three of the four didn't even recommend any disciplinary action be taken, the other suggested Lehman get a three day suspension. You can judge for yourself about whether the officer used excessive force by looking at the video link attached.

The meeting Tuesday in council chambers centered around two simple questions; How did Chief Baker consider this excessive force, and how come he fired the guy after his three of his four top assistants didn't even want him suspended?

"When I saw the video I was appalled when I heard that Trevor had gotten fired," said Glen Johnson, a retired Fort Myers Police Captain who was on the force 28 years. "The person was resisting. the force was not excessive. and he did what he needed to do. But as far as the firing, I think it was far too excessive."

A few dozen Ft. Myers cops showed up to protest their own chief's decision to fire
Lehman, who had been a cop for four years and who was raised by a 20 veteran of the same police department. "There's four people that gave recommendations, before it got to the chief, with almost a hundred years of experience. Not one of them wanted him to be terminated."

Current police Captain Dennis Eads was there to answer questions from the board. When asked why it took from February to July for them to fire Lehman he said, "The rest of the command staff reviewed it. When it was given to the chief there was no excessive use of force allegation. The chief determined that he wanted it reviewed by an expert to see if there was excessive force".

It will now go to an arbitrator who will have the final say. "It will basically be a setting where the arbitrator will sit and listen to arguments and take evidence from both sides and render a binding decision at the end of that," explained Eads.

Until then, Lehman remains fired. He does have supporters though, as over 4,000 have liked his "Reinstate Officer Trevor Lehman" Facebook page. "It's not just local, it's all over the country," said Marty Lehman. "We have people all over the United States and we're getting comments from them also. They think that the force used was not excessive, the only thing that they believe was excessive was the punishment."

The Citizens Police Review Board recommended that Chief Baker's decision be reviewed. But, that's only a recommendation because that board has no power whatsoever. At this point, unless Chief Baker has a change of heart, the only way Lehman gets his job back is through an arbitrator.