Arbitrator Rules Firing of K-9 Abusing Minnesota Deputy Not Justified

Decision determined that the sheriff's office "did not have just cause" to terminate Berry

A Ramsey County, Minnesota deputy pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after he was caught on security footage at Black Bear Casino, abusing his former K9 partner, will keep his job.

Security footage showed Deputy Brett Berry hitting his K9 partner, Boone, and repeatedly throwing the dog to the ground.

Berry was placed on administrative leave after the incident and initial investigation began. In July 2015, he returned to service, providing security at Regions Hospital.

Berry was terminated in April 2016, after the Sheriff’s office completed an internal investigation, and just a few short months after Carlton County judge sentenced him to a year of unsupervised probation. Along with his probation, which will be completed in February 2017, he paid a fine of $500 to Carlton County, as well as restitution to Ramsey County for Boone’s veterinary costs.

A decision filed, on October 29, 2016, by state arbitrator Gil Vernon determined the sheriff’s office “did not have just cause” to terminate Brett Berry, and the deputy “is entitled to reinstatement.”

The arbitrator determined that that the sheriff’s office “erred in not giving enough weight to mitigating factors” in Berry’s favor, making note that Berry had “nearly 20 years of incident-free service with good evaluations.”

It was also noted that Berry “served without incident for several months during the investigation.”

Vernon has ordered “an immediate but provisional reinstatement to active duty but without back pay and a restriction that he cannot work with canines. The permanency of his reinstatement is dependent on the successful completion of the terms of his misdemeanor probation.”

Vernon also added that he “is convinced that it was an aberration and that he deserves another (but last) chance to resume his career.”

Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference about the decision, November 1, and in a verbal statement said, “It is our responsibility now to ensure that Deputy Berry serves the citizens of Ramsey County with honor, truth, and respect, and responsibility.”

Categories: Crime-imported, News-imported, Police-imported, Video