I-Team: Video shows arrest of Aurora officer for incident that got him fired

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AURORA, Ohio -- An Aurora police officer, who pleaded guilty last week in Florida to a misdemeanor charge in connection with a road rage incident, has been fired.

According to a disciplinary letter, Officer Joseph La Perna was fired Thursday.

Aurora Law Director Dean DePiero said LaPerna was fired following a disciplinary hearing held earlier this week.

Aurora Police Chief Brian Byard told FOX 8 that LaPerna had been placed on an unpaid administrative leave immediately after the March incident.

Officer Joe LaPerna, Aurora Police Department

Byard said the disciplinary hearing could not be held until the criminal case was completed. LaPerna pleaded guilty to the charge in a Florida courtroom last week and placed on probation.

According to a release from the Florida State Patrol, troopers responded to a highway violence incident on southbound I-75 March 2.

Video obtained by the FOX 8 I-Team through a public records request shows LaPerna being detained by troopers. He can also be heard telling an officer that he showed his gun but did not point it at anyone.

LaPerna has been an officer in Aurora for more than 20 years.

According to his personnel file, he was disciplined several times in the past, including being fired in May 2006 after an off-duty road rage incident involving himself and a resident. The police union fought the termination and he was reinstated.

In the other incident, occurring in December 2017, LaPerna was disciplined and required to forfeit holiday pay as a result of poor decision-making involving a traffic stop with an elderly resident.

“If you stain the badge like that you don’t deserve to wear the uniform,” DePiero said.

It’s not known if LaPerna plans to appeal the termination.

Read more, here.

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