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Manchester Police Refuse To Rehire Officer Who Sent Racist Messages


An arbitrator has ruled for a second time that the Manchester Police Department is required to provide a fired police officer with substantial back pay.

The department fired Aaron Brown in 2018 after an internal investigation found racist text messages from his department-issued cell phone. There were also messages in which he claimed to have intentionally damaged property while executing search warrants.

Shortly after, the Manchester Police Patrolman Association filed a grievance over Brown’s termination. In August 2019, an arbitrator ruled that the department should have only suspended Brown for 30 days. The binding ruling required Manchester Police to rehire Brown and provide him with back pay.

In a release on Friday, the department said it refused to rehire Brown and that it “wholeheartedly disagrees with the ruling.” 

In a second ruling on August 24, the arbitrator said once again that the department must provide Brown with back pay.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig said in a statement Friday, “I believe the arbitrator made a serious error by failing to recognize Brown’s racism and significant abuse of authority.”

Separately, the police union has filed a complaint with the state’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board over Manchester’s refusal to follow the order. That case is still pending.

Manchester Police and groups that advocate for criminal justice reform, like the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, are asking for the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council to schedule a hearing to determine whether Brown should lose his police certification.

The Public Employee Labor Relations Board is scheduled to hold its next hearing in the case against the Manchester Police Department on September 21.

Mary McIntyre is a senior producer at NHPR. She manages the station's news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. You can email her at mmcintyre@nhpr.org.

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