West U Files Lawsuit Over Former Police Officer’s Termination Report
West University Place is currently seeking a judicial review of a decision regarding a former police officer’s request to remove a “dishonorable discharge” from her termination report.
Former West U police officer Rosemarie Valdes was fired from the police department on Oct. 15, 2008 after allegedly reporting that a car hit her while she was directing traffic. She reported that the car knocked her off balance, and she fell on the hood with her feet coming off the ground. Video footage shows that the incident did not happen.
The city fired Valdes because she allegedly violated a police department rule “requiring integrity and truthfulness.”
To read more about the incident, click here.
Valdes won an appeal to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards, an agency that certifies police officers and departments, to remove the “dishonorable discharge” from her record in June.
The “dishonorable” designation hurts Valdes’ chance of continuing her career in law enforcement.
West U Chief of Police Ken Walker was directed by TCLEOSE to change Valdes termination report to “honorable discharge, terminated by will.”
Walker said he does not want to sign a falsified document, so the city is seeking a judicial review of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision to change Valdes’ employment termination report.
“It’s totally inappropriate to ask a chief to sign a falsified document,” Walker said. “I don’t think I could sign this no matter what happens.”
Walker said chiefs all over the state have this problem because they don’t want to sign a falsified document.
“It’s good that we’re at least going to do something about it,” he said.
Walker said this lawsuit is not about Valdes, it’s about “trying to correct a wrong that affects every law enforcement agency in Texas.”
“It’s not really about her,” he said. “We wish nothing bad for her.”
David Donahue, legal administrator for Valdes’ appeal defense attorney Paul Aman, said Valdes has not been able to get another job because the “dishonorable discharge” flushes her credibility.
“She just wants to go on and live her life,” he said.
The city recently won a lawsuit that reversed Valdes’ unemployment benefits.
Valdes applied for unemployment benefits right after she was fired in October 2008 and the Texas Workforce Commission approved her payments.
The city appealed that decision in November 2008 because it said Valdes was fired for workplace misconduct, making her ineligible for unemployment benefits. The TWC reversed its decision and took away the officer’s benefits.
But Valdes re-appealed in January 2009 and in March the TWC again reversed its decision and gave her the benefits. The city tried to appeal again, but the TWC denied the request.
The city then asked the Harris County 157th Judicial District Court to review the TWC’s decision.
The court reversed the decision by the TWC on May 7 and disqualified Valdes from receiving unemployment benefits.
The decision was final on June 8 when TWC withdrew its request for a new trial. Both Valdes and the TWC decided not to appeal the judgment.