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Arbitrator rules to reinstate Neb. officer fired over arrest video

Decision was rooted in a 1989 US Supreme Court case ruling that a police officer's use of force is permissible if it is "objectively reasonable"

By PoliceOne Staff

OMAHA, Neb. — An Omaha police officer was cleared to go back to work one year after she was involved in the controversial arrest of a man outside the Creighton University Medical Center.

A labor arbitrator ruled to reinstate four-year police veteran Officer Jackie Dolinsky, who was fired in September along with one other officer for participating in the videotaped arrest of Robert Wagner, The Omaha World Herald reported.

Security video footage shows officers in May 2011 arrest Wagner, 35, after he reportedly would not leave the hospital when ordered, then punched an officer in the head. Outcry from community activists over a perceived use of excessive force led to police brass flagging the incident for review, which was shortly followed by the Chief's decision to terminate the officers.

The rejection of Dolinsky's firing was rooted in a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that a police officer's use of force is permissible if it is objectively reasonable, according to Sgt. John Wells, head of the Omaha police union. The reinstatement cannot be appealed.

As part of an agreement between the police union and the city, Dolinsky might receive additional training or unspecified discipline, authorities said. When she is back on the job, at a date still unspecified, she will not return to her assignment in the city's northeast precinct.

Wagner pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of attempted assault of a peace officer for his involvement in the scuffle. When he is sentenced at the end of June, he faces a $1,000 fine, a year in prison or both.

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