Warren cop files appeal

WARREN – A city police officer who was fired earlier this month has filed a grievance appealing that decision, claiming it was “unjust, discriminatory and arbitrary.”

Reuben Shaw is asking to be reinstated with full back pay and with no loss of his benefits or seniority.

Shaw, who joined the Warren police department in 1989, is also arguing that his May 1 firing by Warren police Chief Eric Merkel violated his constitutional and contractural rights by “covertly conducting his own personal investigation” of Shaw’s actions without the patrolman’s knowledge or acquiescence.

Shaw is accused of illegally having a vehicle towed from private property to his own garage on June 30, 2013, in an attempt to keep the classic car for himself.

The matter will now be aired out during a hearing before Warren Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa. As of Monday, Cantalamessa said the hearing had not yet been scheduled.

Messages left for Merkel at his office for comment were not returned Monday.

Shaw also claims that “the chief’s unlawful conduct is a glaring example of the chief’s bias … which was further manifested by the department’s violations in regard to the manner in which (Shaw) was placed on administrative leave,” according to the grievance.

The grievance claims Merkel’s termination of Shaw “is without legal authority as he is not an appointing authority.”

Shaw’s termination came about 10 months after he was placed on paid administrative leave.

Shaw also has been the focus of a criminal probe by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, primarily over the same incident. That case was handed over to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office in March and is still pending.

In the disciplinary action letter to Shaw, Merkel wrote that on June 30, 2013, the patrolman had assisted with a police call in reference to reports of possible trespassing at 2320 Kenwood Ave. S.W., a property thought to be abandoned, and noticed a 1969 Chevrolet Nova. Shaw expressed to other officers his desire ”to have such a vehicle to restore it,” Merkel wrote.