Officer will not be getting job back

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


A former Youngstown police officer fired in connection with the beating of a paralyzed man in 2010 will not be getting his job back.

Robert Joliff was fired in early June 2010 after an investigation into his role in the alleged beating of Willie Daniel, 36, of High Street, who is paralyzed from the waist down. An arbitrator last week upheld Joliff’s dismissal.

Joliff received a termination letter June 8, 2010, citing excessive use of force, conduct unbecoming an officer, neglect of duty and failure to properly process paperwork as the reasons for his termination.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said Joliff, with the decision from the arbitrator, has no further recourse in seeking reinstatement to the police department.

“He will not be coming back. They denied his grievance and found in favor of the city,” Hughes said. “I don’t think he has any recourse. The arbitrator agreed with me and with the city that there was improper conduct.”

Police arrested Daniel and charged him with driving under suspension and reckless operation after a car accident Feb. 27, 2010, on Wilson Avenue.

According to Daniel, he was in an SUV with his brother behind the wheel on Wilson when they were in a one-car accident. He said his brother left the vehicle to find a pay phone to call Daniel’s wife and a tow truck.

Daniel said a tow-truck drove by the accident scene shortly after his brother left, and Daniel slid into the driver’s seat to flag down the driver. Daniel asked the driver for assistance but said he did not need to have the police called.

The tow-truck driver, according to police reports, however, called police because he thought he saw a gun inside the vehicle in which Daniel was sitting. Police did not find a gun, but did find a black stick inside the vehicle.

Joliff arrived at the scene shortly after the call from the tow-truck driver.

Daniel said Joliff, at gun point, used an expletive and told him he would hurt him if he moved. Daniel said he told the officer he was paralyzed and could not walk, but the officer told him to be quiet.

Daniel said Joliff handcuffed him through the window, then punched him in the mouth. He said the officer dragged him from the SUV.

Daniel said he asked the officer to help get him out of the road because he is handicapped, but was again told to shut up. He said he asked two other officers who had arrived at the scene for help, and Joliff again hit him in the mouth. Female members of Daniel’s family, the arbitrator report says, ultimately helped him from the ground to a patrol car.

Hughes said the officers responded to the call with a heightened sense of awareness because they believed a gun was in the car, but said after it was determined no gun was in the car, there was no need for further aggressive action.

Officer Jay Fletcher also was fired in early June in connection with the beating. A different arbitrator, however, overturned Fletcher’s dismissal last month, and he has returned to duty.

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