FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Police Officers Association says when it comes to a recent police officer’s termination, they just want due process.
The group claims Chief Joel Fitzgerald’s decision to fire rookie officer Lina Mino last Friday was rushed and uncalled for.
The decision for termination stems from an incident that occurred near a neighborhood off Hale Avenue and N.E. 28th Street.
Officers Association President Manny Ramirez said it was during a traffic stop on April 7 when Officer Mino realized the driver she had pulled over had a felony warrant out for his arrest.
Ramirez said Mino claimed opened fire after the driver refused to put his car in park and drove off. No one was injured.
Ramirez said the suspect and his passenger fled to a house where they were eventually apprehended and a handgun was found in the car they were traveling in.
Mino was fired five days later for discharging her weapon. Members of the Officers Association say that amount of time is the quickest they’ve ever seen for a decision and claim the average investigation usually takes about 90 days.
Ramirez claims there are other factors for the firing. “The reason for the rushed and incomplete investigation is simple, Officer Mino would have obtained one year of service seven hours after she was terminated,” he said. “With one year of service she would have obtained the right to appeal her suspension and a right to due process review by someone other than the Chief.”
The Officers Association claims Mino can’t appeal her firing, but that the Chief can change his mind on the termination.
CBS 11 News reached out to FWPD for comment and early Tuesday afternoon they issues a statement that said, in part —
“The Fort Worth Police Department has an established policy prohibiting officers from employing deadly force by shooting into vehicles unless the vehicle poses an immediate threat to that officer (or someone else). In this instance, the vehicle slowly drove away from the officer and posed no immediate threat to the officer.
As has been reported recently, the misapplication of deadly force has been a serious issue in law enforcement. Our Police Department considers the use of force, specifically deadly force, a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. FWPD officers know this because we have enacted strict policies governing encounters that warrant the use of force.”