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May 26, 2006
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Calif. officer fired for discrimination rehired

The Associated Press
CONCORD, Calif.- A Concord police officer who was fired last year for wrongfully stopping Hispanic drivers has been rehired and is back on patrol, according to a report Thursday in the Contra Costa Times.

Officer Jim Carroll returned to the department last month after he received a favorable recommendation from an independent mediator, the newspaper reported.

In 2004, Carroll often parked near a Hispanic market and stopped drivers to see if they had licenses, according to an internal police investigation.

If they did not, he would cite them and have their cars towed.

Carroll's manager, Sgt. Steve Price, was demoted for not properly supervising the officer. Price was bumped up to his previous rank in April.

Phone messages left for Price, his attorney and Concord Police Association were not returned.

Carroll's lawyer, Kathy Rains, said the officer was simply working his beat, enforcing traffic laws.

Hispanic community leaders are outraged at the officer's return, saying it has hurt relations with Concord police.

"It's disappointing, especially right now because people are really on edge with this immigration debate," said Jerry Okendo, local president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. "To know there is an officer who did something serious enough to be dismissed, and now he's back, it's just going to add to the fear."

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