A Baltimore school security officer who won a $187,000 settlement and reinstatement to his job last summer in a 1984 civil suit has filed a new lawsuit against city police and the head of school security for denying him a return to service as a commissioned officer.
In his new lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Stephen A. Arvinger claims the defendants violated the 1990 settlement agreement, conspired to prevent him from getting recommissioned and retaliated against him for asserting his legal and constitutional rights in the earlier suit.
Named as defendants in the new lawsuit are Larry Burgan, chief of school security; Ronald Daniel, director of the police department's personnel division; the city school and police departments; and the mayor and City Council.
Attorney Kathleen M. Cahill claims that police subjected Arvinger to "intensive interrogation sessions " in January, while he was taking training classes for recommissioning, and denied him permission to talk with his lawyer while they forced him to write several statements about the reasons he was fired in 1984.
Shortly after that, police officially denied him reinstatement as a commissioned security officer, as promised in the settlement agreement, the suit says.
School officials agreed last year to reinstate Arvinger to his old job as a commissioned security officer as the result of the 1984 wrongful termination suit, the suit that ostensibly was resolved in the settlement last August.
After Arvinger's recommissioning request was denied early this year, the Police Department and the Department of Education withheld investigative records from him concerning his reinstatement bid.
The new suit says police now claim that an investigative report and inter-office memos concerning Arvinger's reinstatement bid are exempt from disclosure because the documents "could impede future investigations."
Cahill said the defendants' contention is a whitewash to hide the alleged conspiracy to keep Arvinger from getting recommissioned.
Arvinger, she said, is now is working in the school system as a non-commissioned security officer, a lower position he had rejected in settlement negotiations last year.
"That's exactly what they originally offered him, and that's exactly where he ended up," Cahill said. "It appears that they back-doored him to keep him out" of his old job.
Cahill said Arvinger is being paid a commissioned security officer's salary, "but we don't know what his future is. They've got him trudging around like a trainee."
"What they've done is a clear violation of the principles of reinstatement and a clear violation of the settlement agreement," she said. "He loved his job, and he wanted it back."