Police, Mayor issue statements of frustration over arbitration decision on fired officer

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Aaron Brown. Courtesy photo/Manchester Police Department

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Manchester Police Department and Mayor’s Office issued statements of disappointment on Friday relating to a recent arbitration decision surrounding former Manchester Police Officer Aaron Brown.

Brown was fired in 2018 after evidence emerged that he made racist comments. A three-month internal investigation revealed that Brown made racist text messages through a department-issued cellphone and also intentionally damaged property while executing search warrants.

Following a union grievance, the matter went to arbitration in 2019, with the arbitrator concluding that Brown’s comments were egregious and had no place in law enforcement, but that evidence regarding the search warrants was inconclusive and he should have been suspended for 30 days rather than fired.

While the Manchester Police Department disagreed with the ruling, it is bound to abide by the ruling for the time being and has issued an unfair labor practice charge request with the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relation Board.

In the statement issued by the Manchester Police Department, Brown has made no effort to find other employment since his termination and the City is required to provide Brown with back pay. It remains unclear if Brown should retain police certification.

“Under no circumstances, does the Manchester Police Department tolerate racist behavior. Aaron Brown was terminated due to the findings of the internal investigation. I, personally, would have handled it the same way if a similar situation had happened, and I am confident this agency always will,” said Police Chief Carlo Capano. “Manchester police officers take pride in the community we serve and the uniform we wear. Aaron Brown’s actions cast a shadow on this agency, but those actions are not representative of this police department as a whole. We will do everything possible to make sure Brown is never in a Manchester Police Uniform again. Sometimes fighting for what is right is difficult and an uphill battle, but we take this very seriously and have no intention of giving up.”

The Manchester Police Commission shared a similar sentiment.

“We need to examine the New Hampshire’s police oversight process that allows someone like Aaron Brown to remain in uniform,” said Scott Spradling, Manchester Police Commission Chairman. “This ruling cannot simply be accepted. This case begs for immediate reforms to ensure the public can maintain faith in law enforcement oversight, knowing that bad actors like Aaron Brown don’t ever get a second chance to work in law enforcement.”

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig also issued a statement of frustration at the ruling, pledging to strengthen ties between police officers and the community and noting that officers like Brown jeopardize those relationships.

“The egregious behavior displayed by Aaron Brown has no place in the Manchester Police Department or any police department,” said Craig. “I fully support Chief Willard and then-Assistant Chief Capano’s decision to fire Aaron Brown and their pursuit to ensure his termination remained permanent. I believe the arbitrator made a serious error by failing to recognize Brown’s racism and significant abuse of authority in reversing his termination.”

About this Author

andrewsylvia

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.