The epidemic of mentally ill cops in America
Arbitrator orders Warren to reinstate cop fired for cutting off woman's hair weave during arrest
WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) - A Warren Police officer who was caught on videotape hacking off a woman's hair is getting her job back.
An arbitrator ordered that Officer Bernadette Najor be reinstated. She had been fired following the incident that occurred in November 2013.
7 Action News first reported on the incident in January.
Many jails remove an inmate's hair extensions because they could be used as a weapon, but Charda Gregory didn't have extensions. Her weave was sewn into the braids on her scalp.
The firing stemmed from the arrest of Gregory, a 22-year-old hair dresser who had been taken into custody, accused of trashing a room at the Suez Motel on 8 Mile. At the time her lawyer, Paule Misukewicz, said, "She had a couple of drinks, then woke up in a strange place. Didn't know how she got there, completely disoriented."
By the time she was brought in to the jail lock-up on the top floor of the Warren Police Department, Gregory had been pepper sprayed, but she appears calm.
However, it's clear in the video that Gregory can barely stand as she comes face-to-face with Officer Najor.
"She took it upon herself to get the scissors. And for whatever reason, decided that she was going to butcher my client," said Misukewicz in January.
Video shows that as Officer Najor pats Gregory down, the officer pushes Gregory against the wall twice.
Suddenly Najor starts going for Gregory's hair. The officers struggle with Gregory, dragging her over to a restraining chair to tie down her arms and legs.
Officer Najor starts yanking Gregory's head from side-to-side, chopping out chunks of hair. It takes 3 full minutes before Najor gives one final yank and removes what's left of Gregory's weave.
Najor reportedly told police officials that she had to remove Gregory's weave because of alleged threats of suicide. For our original report, police officials said that was an explanation that made no sense.
At the time of our original report, officials also said this was not Najor's first discipline problem, but they could not go into details, citing restrictions on what he can legally say about a former employee.
7 Action News obtained Officer Najor's personnel records – they show she was suspended without pay for 10 days in 2010 for being "untruthful."
Despite several attempts to reach Najor by phone for our original report, she refused to talk to us when we caught up with her, instead screaming at 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo as she tried to get Najor's side of the story:
"If that camera is on me I will call the police! Call 911 right now!"
Because of what happened in the jail, all of the criminal charges against Charda Gregory were dismissed.
Warren Police have issued the following statement regarding the arbitrator's decision:
The City of Warren is in receipt of an arbitrator's decision reinstating a police officer involved in a highly-publicized incident in our jail.
The City strongly disagrees with the arbitrator's decision. The actions taken by the Warren Police Department were appropriate and required.
Despite that, this is a nation of laws, and even where we believe that an arbitrator's decision is plainly wrong, we will follow it.
This unfortunate set of circumstances should not in any way detract from the brave police officers in our police department who put their lives on the line every day. The City will continue to strive to make this excellent police department even better.
Charda settled her lawsuit against the city in February . Under the settlement agreement, the city of Warren paid Gregory $75,000 and Gregory agrees to release the city, police department and Najor from any future claims.