Appeals court agrees Cleveland officer should get job back after sexting scandal

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cuyahoga County Appeals Court has sided with an arbitrator in saying a Cleveland police officer should get his job back after the city fired him for “sexting” or inappropriately texting women on the job.

The court decision shows the city fired detective Vincent Lucarelli in January 2013. Internal investigators found he had sent “sexually explicit and inappropriate messages” to seven women including crime victims.

Then an arbitrator reduced the punishment from firing to a suspension without pay.

The city then appealed saying the arbitrator went too far.

Now, an appeals court has found “…no error…the arbitrator did not exceed his authority…” under the union contract.

At the same time, the court wrote, “We recognize the city’s concerns regarding ensuring the integrity of its police department…”

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has been outspoken in criticizing what he calls a pattern of Cleveland police officers getting punishment reduced or overturned through arbitration.