Arbitrator orders OPD to rehire Robert Arnold

Arbitrator orders OPD to rehire Robert Arnold

An arbitrator has ruled that, despite the fact former Orange Police Department Capt. Robert Arnold shot and killed James Whitehead at point blank range in the parking of the O'Reilly Auto Parts store on 16th Street in Orange last year, he must be returned to the police force because the city violated Arnold's due process rights.

The ruling, which was issued today by LeRoy Bartman, has not yet been seen by city leaders or police department officials on Orange but Greg Cagle, who defended Arnold in the arbitration hearing said he was pleased with the decision.

"I think it was the correct decision to make," Cagle said. "He didn't reach the merits of the case just that the investigation violated his (Arnold's) due process rights."

A copy of Bartman's ruling states, "The grievant is exonerated on all charges. The city of Orange, Texas violated state and federal law when it deprived Capt. Arnold of his 'due process rights.' The indefinite suspension is reversed and the disciplinary reinstatement of Captain Arnold is so ordered. As to remedy, he will be restored to his position and made whole for all benefits and credits in accordance with Texas Local Government Code 143.053(f)."

Cagle said he was not sure at what capacity Arnold would be returned to the force but it must be commensurate with his rank of captain and that he cannot be demoted.

"They only have 180-days to take disciplinary actions," Cagle said.

Orange City Manager Shawn Oubre said the ruling comes as an "emotional" pivot for the entire city and the community. According to him, the Orange City Council and Mayor Brown Claybar will now confer with City Attorney John Cash Smith as to what legal options are available.

"It's not that I have nothing to say," Oubre said when asked about the ruling. "Right now, I just don't know what the legal situation is."

EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of the complete ruling is attached above.

Orange County Editor Jennifer Johnson contributed to this report.

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Comments

Very Clear...

I totally do NOT agree with Whitehead's behavior. Don't get me wrong. From beginning to end, he was an a&*hole. Yes, in an altercation I'm sure Arnold would have been on the losing end. I don't like how Whitehead behaved nor do like anything he said to Arnold...period.

But let's DO be clear. It's against the law to kill someone who calls you names or acts like an a&*hole.

I read every word of all 28 pages of Kittrell's suspension report. I read every word of the police report. I read and heard every word of every story done on this case. I read every word of the Arbitrator's ruling, as well.

Kittrell's report...instance after instance of abusive, abnormal and violent behavior and reaction toward people he was in contact with while on the job. There's record on ALL those instances.

When Arnold was a teen, stabbing a kid after school over a seat on a bus.

Trying to strangle his wife at her place of work and the abuse in that relationship. He was a trooper and his record was sealed once he was fired from that job. Without being an overly educated person, I can see what happened. His x-wife pressed charges. Somehow she was convinced to drop them and he was convinced to go from her, go from the job...to keep everything 'quiet and happy'. Everyone agreed...the record was sealed, and here he is...OPD. We'll never be 100% positive...but I'd put a bet on it.

Never at any time was there ever mention of a fact that Whitehead was going for Arnold's gun.

The altercation was OVER. Arnold was continuing to try to keep Whitehead on the scene until other officers arrived. But Whitehead didn't know Arnold was a cop. Whitehead was leaving the scene. Arnold never told him he was a cop, he never showed a badge. He completely screwed the whole thing up, and was enraged. Arnold went to his truck (as Whitehead was preparing to leave the scene). Got his unregistered gun. Walked across the parking lot to where Whitehead was at his truck...and shot Whitehead. "You shot me"..."damn right I did".

It was over and done before Arnold ever went to get his gun. Kittrell's not the only one quoted as "you should've reacted differently". "Letting him go", etc.

Nothing more than a little bumping and name-calling. There was no threat from Whitehead other than intimidation. He never raised his hand to Arnold...he knows better...he was a Marine. Hands down...chest up.

The Arbitrator's finding is so 'legal' and so 'murky'...hardly anyone without a law degree could understand 1/2 of it. But that's the BULLS^&T I'm talking about. Precedences set by other situations don't always do what they're supposed to in all situations. They're there to protect someone from being wronged. Not to get someone off the burner. This report and ruling is legal, I totally understand. But it's WRONG. Anyone and everyone who's not completely insane will agree.

You hear it over and over. "I don't agree with this, but it's the best system in the world". UUUUUGGGHH!!!

WRONG IS WRONG no matter whether it's 'legal' or not. That's my point.

I know there will be an appeal. I know this isn't over yet. One way or the other I have to believe WE can make a difference. STAND UP PEOPLE!

Very Clear...

I totally do NOT agree with Whitehead's behavior. Don't get me wrong. From beginning to end, he was an a&*hole. Yes, in an altercation I'm sure Arnold would have been on the losing end. I don't like how Whitehead behaved nor do like anything he said to Arnold...period.

But let's DO be clear. It's against the law to kill someone who calls you names or acts like an a&*hole.

I read every word of all 28 pages of Kittrell's suspension report. I read every word of the police report. I read and heard every word of every story done on this case. I read every word of the Arbitrator's ruling, as well.

Kittrell's report...instance after instance of abusive, abnormal and violent behavior and reaction toward people he was in contact with while on the job. There's record on ALL those instances.

When Arnold was a teen, stabbing a kid after school over a seat on a bus.

Trying to strangle his wife at her place of work and the abuse in that relationship. He was a trooper and his record was sealed once he was fired from that job. Without being an overly educated person, I can see what happened. His x-wife pressed charges. Somehow she was convinced to drop them and he was convinced to go from her, go from the job...to keep everything 'quiet and happy'. Everyone agreed...the record was sealed, and here he is...OPD. We'll never be 100% positive...but I'd put a bet on it.

Never at any time was there ever mention of a fact that Whitehead was going for Arnold's gun.

The altercation was OVER. Arnold was continuing to try to keep Whitehead on the scene until other officers arrived. But Whitehead didn't know Arnold was a cop. Whitehead was leaving the scene. Arnold never told him he was a cop, he never showed a badge. He completely screwed the whole thing up, and was enraged. Arnold went to his truck (as Whitehead was preparing to leave the scene). Got his unregistered gun. Walked across the parking lot to where Whitehead was at his truck...and shot Whitehead. "You shot me"..."damn right I did".

It was over and done before Arnold ever went to get his gun. Kittrell's not the only one quoted as "you should've reacted differently". "Letting him go", etc.

Nothing more than a little bumping and name-calling. There was no threat from Whitehead other than intimidation. He never raised his hand to Arnold...he knows better...he was a Marine. Hands down...chest up.

The Arbitrator's finding is so 'legal' and so 'murky'...hardly anyone without a law degree could understand 1/2 of it. But that's the BULLS^&T I'm talking about. Precedences set by other situations don't always do what they're supposed to in all situations. They're there to protect someone from being wronged. Not to get someone off the burner. This report and ruling is legal, I totally understand. But it's WRONG. Anyone and everyone who's not completely insane will agree.

You hear it over and over. "I don't agree with this, but it's the best system in the world". UUUUUGGGHH!!!

WRONG IS WRONG no matter whether it's 'legal' or not. That's my point.

I know there will be an appeal. I know this isn't over yet. One way or the other I have to believe WE can make a difference. STAND UP PEOPLE!

I reiterate...he was NOT shot

I reiterate...he was NOT shot for calling a man names OR being a A$$...he was shot due to his "aggressive behavior" directed towards Capt. Arnold. I back this up by the Rangers report that clearly states this. I back that up with a NO BILL finding by Grand Jury. And I back that up with Kitrells own report And I believe it is in the second to last/last paragraph of his report, and IT states the shooting justified.You make mention of supposed aggressive/ violent behavior:YET there is NO RECORD of verbal or written reprimand or disciplinaries for these supposed allegations by Kitrell. This you can find in the Arbitrators report as well as news articles in Orange Leader & Bmt. Enterprise and they all state the ONLY disciplinary Capt Arnold has EVER recieved was for a fleet accidemt while ushering a funeral. And the ones that are on record are ALL justified!You make mention of him stabbing someone over a seat...two sides to every story. As far as him abusing his wife etc....facts point to the allegations being made only when issues arose between them.Whats the best way to hurt a cop...file a report. People make bogus reports all the time. But, like you say we'll never be 100% sure. He was not fired from being s Trooper.
During the arbitration hearing there was several times the mentioniong of Whitehead going for Arnold's gun occured. in fact Cagle questioned Sparky Robinson and the question was along the lines of; aren't Officers trained that in the event someone is trying to disarm you you should pul back and fire...just as Capt. Arnold did. Sparky's response ...Yes" Now...the way I phrased it, is not verbatim, but preety clopse. There was also eyewitness testimony of the point Arnold did identify himself...and the one that sticks out is the young man being questioned from jail,,,and he said the that the identification that Capt. Arnold identified himself with to Whitehead was very similiar t o the ones the Police Officers arresting him showed him. Not only that,but people got on the stand under oath and testified to this.I also bring toyour attention that the manager of O'Reily and the man who assisited Arnold at the store both said that they feared for Arnolds Safety. There was also testimony from several eyewitness that Arnold was Professinal through out the entire situation...It was also establisdhed in the Rangers report that he did indeed identify himself. As far as his gun being unregistered there was testimony from someone from O.P.D. that NONE...I REPEAT...NONE of the guns are registered by policy. There was many questioins on the issue of weather Whitehead was trying to leave or not. He was a passenger...the quickest route for him to get back in his car would have been: leave the strore,immediate left in front of truck he's now at passenger side of car, HE instead exited the store and made a bee line for Arnold passing up the Drivers side of car to met Arnold in back. If Whitehed was leaving wht did he not take the quickest,easiest route to his truck & avoid Arnold altogether? The only other ones that echoed Kitrell he should have reacted differently are those that served on an illegal shooting board and got a promotion a nice raise! A little "chest bumping" as you Prettied it up and tied a bow around it" is a FELONY when it comes to an officer on/offduty. There are several other facts thaqt I would like to bring to yor attention...such as Why? were there so many issues with memberes of O.P.D. when it came down to amswering questions...what were they trying to hide? The arbitraqtor had to tell Wade Robinson that if he did not answer the questions he would be held in contempt of court. There was several times that Sparky RObinson was verbal assaulted by the Arbitrator when he too failed to answer straight forward questions.Lane Martin was ordered by the Arbitrator to give an answer to questions and i believe the word used by the Arbitrator was he was dancing around the question(S). Something else to think about...Capt. Arnold was "indefinitely suspended" for breaking departmental policy. Do we agree om that? YEs. Sam Kitrell, Lane Martin, Sparky/Wade Robinson not only broke many DEOARTMENTAL as well as several STATE & FEDERAL laws/rules. So why are these Officers still allowed to hold thier posotions with O.P.D? So I agree with you on thaht part when you say wrong is wrong. So what shall thier punishment be? Several people have brought to my attention a book titled "If The Devil Hade A Wife" it tells of several stories of Cash & Kitrell doing illegal, underhanded,sneaky, "business". Just from the goings ons in the book, its clear that Cash & Kitrell putting it nicely does NOT see black/African American people as equals. You think that the Arbitrators decision is wrong. I for one think its a shame for our tax dollars be wasted om this,again! I watched the many fellow Police Officers,dispatchers,& others come in the courtroom & support Capt. Arnold...that in itself speaks volumes for what others think about how he reacted. Especially others that has been in similiar situations. So once again that leaves you with a man being No Billed, Lead Investigator Ranger Parks was said to have done a very thourough investigation, unlike O.P.D. who chose to use ONE persons statement to justify a Indefinite termination finding,and an Arbotrator has deemed it reasonable for Arnold to have his job back.Kitrell and his illegal shooting board broke more policies and policies that are far more "superio" than any dpeartmental rules.

The best system in the world!

Blah...blah...blah.

I love this country and I'm so proud to live here...but our legal system has failed again. We've seen it year after year, case after case. And it's not the petty-crap cases...it's the important ones which always seem to get screwed up by 'the system'.

It's a very sad day when a murderer can have his job back because he didn't receive notice of what he did wrong? Due process violation? BULLSH&*T! Arnold knew what he did wrong...HE F'N DID IT! He knew...he knew...HE KNEW!

The last time any of us were fired...how much due process did we get? NONE! The big boss brings ya in...tells you you make too much money, or stole a pencil, or were 15 minutes late for work, and you're escorted to collect your things and told to get the hell out. And I'm pretty sure none of us murdered anyone!!!!!!

All this legal maneuvering mumbo-jumbo is nothing more than the system's way of letting the guilty go free.

This whole thing has been so disgusting. Reading the arbitrators ruling...I'm just seeing 'this case' and 'that case' being pointed out as to reasons Arnold wasn't given due process. Legal BULLSH&*T! It's all so absolutely absurd. From the Grand Jury to the arbitrator...these people live in a totally different reality!!

This is common sense. It's what everyone knows. It is WRONG! I don't give a SH$T about legal maneuvering. Seriously???? When everyone knows exactly what happened, (it's a matter of witness and public record) and this can be allowed to happen...it's truly sickening.

I wonder what it would effect on these people minds if the arbitrators'...or one of the Grand Jury members'...or a current OPD member...or a Union Members'...or a Judges' or lawyers' spouse, or son, or daughter, mom or dad was to be shot by Arnold? (Not that I'm blaming any of the afore mentioned for this injustice. I'm sure these people HATE this murdering bastard as much as any of the rest of us.)

Maybe the loopholes would close? Well...maybe there wont be any loopholes left open after the next person is killed.

We'll have a chance to know!!!! Good luck, ya'll. Arnold can be back on the street!!! GOOD JOB and sleep well!!

Unbelievable. . .

A man is murdered by a cop, and they are going to put that cop in charge of "serving" other members of the Orange community? James Whitehead's family will never see justice because our judicial system is more worried about being politically correct than it is about a man in blue being tried and convicted of murder. The community of Orange should be crying "Foul!"

Abuse of authority:

Well we have set a prescience:

A cop and shoots and kills a unarmed citizen for no other reason than he didn't like something the victim said. And he gets away with it because his rights were violated. Obviously the arbitrator gave absolutely no credence to rights of the dead man and his family. This is epitome of gross injustice.
"SHUT UP OR I WILL SHOOT YOU'! AND HE DID !

Lets be clear...he was not

Lets be clear...he was not shot because of something he said. He was shot because he made several attempts to go for Capt. Arnold's firearm (according to eyewitness reports). Take into consideration...Whitehead had already threatened him,he had already dispayed aggressive behavior by chest bumping & head butting the Capt.. If you read the reports, several of the witnessess said at one point or another they feared for Capt. Arnold's safety. So now you have a Ex-Marine(he recieved a less than honorable discharge from the Marines)hyped up off of a drug that makes one feel rage & a sense of being "invincible",treatening,assaulting,going for a mans gun. At the moment the gun went off witnesses say Whitehead lunged for Capt. Arnold once again in a attempt to take his firearm. Texas Rangers, Grand Jury...seems to think Capt. Arnold was well within his rights by law. As far as the Arbitrator...his ruling as well justified under the law. Its not that he did not take any consideration into the rules & policies that they are claiming Capt.Arnold broke...its just he can't really go into the matter any further because of the law. If he did he would be violating the law. But if you read the Arbitrators report in its entirety...he to agrees with the Ranger...after doing his own investigation.

Lets be clear...he was not

Lets be clear...he was not shot because of something he said. He was shot because he made several attempts to go for Capt. Arnold's firearm (according to eyewitness reports). Take into consideration...Whitehead had already threatened him,he had already dispayed aggressive behavior by chest bumping & head butting the Capt.. If you read the reports, several of the witnessess said at one point or another they feared for Capt. Arnold's safety. So now you have a Ex-Marine(he recieved a less than honorable discharge from the Marines)hyped up off of a drug that makes one feel rage & a sense of being "invincible",treatening,assaulting,going for a mans gun. At the moment the gun went off witnesses say Whitehead lunged for Capt. Arnold once again in a attempt to take his firearm. Texas Rangers, Grand Jury...seems to think Capt. Arnold was well within his rights by law. As far as the Arbitrator...his ruling as well justified under the law. Its not that he did not take any consideration into the rules & policies that they are claiming Capt.Arnold broke...its just he can't really go into the matter any further because of the law. If he did he would be violating the law. But if you read the Arbitrators report in its entirety...he to agrees with the Ranger...after doing his own investigation.

BULLSHIT.....prove your

BULLSHIT.....prove your BULLSHIT accusation against the former Marine....and the witness said the PIG stated "I am going to kill you." Hummm, sound premedtiated to me...A cop CANNOT kill someone because the individual is aggitated...and the reports said NOTHING of the Marine going for the cop's gun....have fun in your FUCKING UTPOPIA....

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