DeLand police officer who was fired for mistreating, wrongfully arresting man rehired by city, officials say

DELAND, Fla. — A DeLand police officer who was fired in 2018 for mistreating and wrongfully arresting a man has been rehired by the city.

In December 2018, city officials terminated Officer Johan Mulero.

Mulero appealed the city’s decision and the city and Mulero presented their cases to an independent arbitrator late last year, officials said.

READ: DeLand police officer fired after ‘troubling’ body cam video released

During a hearing, the city presented Mulero’s body camera footage, which showed the incident was not isolated, but “a pattern of misconduct by Mulero in his interactions with members of the community during his tenure with the police department,” the city said.

Given the same set of circumstances, any other officer would likely have been terminated, officials said.

City officials said Mulero’s actions do not represent how they train their officers to interact with members of the community.

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On Friday, the independent arbitrator released its findings.

According to a news release, it affirmed many of the city’s findings, including Mulero’s mistreatment of members of the community, and found that the appropriate punishment for such conduct would be termination.

However, due to technical issues with the city’s investigation, the arbitrator chose to give Mulero a two-year unpaid suspension and is requiring him to undergo additional training instead of upholding the city’s decision to terminate him.

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The city released the following statement:

“While the city will abide by the arbitrator’s ruling as required, we are extremely disappointed and dismayed that the arbitrator upheld the City’s finding of fact concerning Mulero’s misconduct and agreed it was a dismissible offense, only to then contradict those findings by deciding to reinstate him. This exposes a serious flaw in the system that allows an officer with a history of misconduct to continue their employment without facing the appropriate consequences for their actions.”

Officials said Mulero will be required to undergo extensive training and will be retrained in de-escalation techniques.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.