University News

Brown fires DPS officer for misconduct

Alleged assault of Latinx Dartmouth student prompted four-month investigation

By and
senior staff writers
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fifty-nine percent of the Brown University Security Patrolpersons’ Association members voted on the state of DPS leadership. Of those voting, 87.5 percent voted “no confidence.”

Updated at 6 p.m., March 9, 2016

The Department of Public Safety officer accused of assaulting a visiting Dartmouth student participating in the Latinx Ivy League Conference in November has been fired, wrote Executive Vice President of Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06 in a community-wide email Tuesday.

Carey provided a summary of the incident itself and the findings of the ensuing investigation conducted by DPS and supervised by Mark Porter, chief of police and director of DPS. Following an initial verbal dispute regarding the DPS officer’s intentions and conduct with regard to an intoxicated Brown student at a party at Machado House, the incident became physical when the visiting student disregarded the officer’s instructions to not re-enter the house, Carey wrote.

Though handcuffed after the altercation, the visiting student was not arrested. The investigation concluded that the visiting student’s behavior was not disruptive, and he was not inebriated to the point “where he was incapable of taking care of himself or in need of medical attention,” Carey wrote. The student did not decide to file a formal complaint or take legal action following the incident.

Immediately following the incident, the officer was placed on administrative leave. He was then dismissed after a disciplinary hearing on the grounds that he did not “follow departmental policies and procedures relating to decisions to trespass the student.” While Carey maintained that putting the student under arrest was inappropriate, he wrote that “the amount of force that was used to place the student guest into custody was not inconsistent with departmental policy or procedure.”

Carey signed off by reaffirming the University’s faith in the leadership of DPS, including Porter and Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police for DPS. This comes after the union including DPS officers, the Brown University Security Patrolpersons’ Association, took a vote of “no confidence” in Porter and Shanley, sending the results to several administrators, including Carey. Carey specifically wrote about the credibility and experience of Porter and Shanley, who have performed “at the high level of excellence demanded by the University and will continue to do so going forward.”

Brian Clark, director of news and editorial development, declined to comment on any questions regarding the specifics of the investigation.

22 Comments

  1. Is it poor reporting or a poor decision? The main complaint by Geovanni Cuevas was that he was assaulted unjustifiably. But we are told that Cuevas was not in “need of medical attention,“the amount of force that was used to place [Cuevas] into custody was not inconsistent with departmental policy or procedure,”and “[Cuevas] disregarded the officer’s instructions to not re-enter the house.” We are are also told that Cuevas “was not arrested.” but then that “putting the [Cuevas] under arrest was inappropriate. To lose one’s job because you didn’t “follow departmental policies and procedures relating to decisions to trespass the student,” seems excessive. But the die was cast when President Paxson, before any investigation or finding of wrong doing on the part of the officer, appologized to practically everyone for the officer’s behavior and agreed to pay for the suspended Latinx Conference and the next one. To not fire the officer would surely have made President Paxson look foolish for so quickly capitulating to practiclly all of the demands of the Latinx Conference delegates.

    • Shawn Slatts says:

      How about the cop acted outside of his authority and had to pay for his actions with his job? You cant blame someone else for actions of a different person…the actions he took were his decision alone and as such the punishment is his alone.

      • Nothing here says he acted outside the scpe of his authority. He was authorized to trespass someone, they said he didn’t “follow departmental policies and procedures relating to decisions to trespass the student.” That isnt acting outside his authority. And I am blaming President Paxton for prejudging the matter. Once she did that the die was cast and he could never get a fair hearing and was going to be fired. They werent going to embarass their boss.

        • Shawn Slatts says:

          .So misconduct and assault is within the scope of his authority ? Face it man, he was an asshat, and his own actions are what led to his termination

          • Obviously you didn’t read the article as they found that “the amount of force that was used to place [Cuevas] into custody was not inconsistent with departmental policy or procedure,” That means NO ASSAULT on an individual who stuck his nose into a matter that did not concern him and disobeyed a direct order not to enter the Spanish house. Without the spineless actions of President Paxson he is not fired for failing to follow “departmental policies and procedures relating to decisions to trespass the studen,” a very minor infraction.

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            obviously YOU didn’t read the article, the officer had no business even interacting with the fellow, when he placed his hands on the kid, thats assault, the kid simply didn’t press charges. Thats the only reason he wasn’t charged with assault. Using the amount of force exactly how the policy states is a mute point….the cop exceeded his authority by initiating the contact in the first place.

          • Shawn, I don’t know where you got your law degree, but you don’t know what you are talking about. First of all the officer didn’t initiate the interaction. Cuevas did, by his own admission by interjecting himself when the officer was dealing with a drunk person. Cuevas was subsequently told not to enter the Spanish House, once that was done, regardless of whether the officer should have or not it was an order that Cuevas was obligated to comply with and by not, he was in violation of a lawful order. Thus when the officer placed his hands on Cuevas it was a privileged touching and not an assault. Most likely Cuevas did not press charges because he knew he would have lost and could be subject to a malicious prosecution action. And by the way, just because Cuevas might have “press[ed] charges” doesn’t mean that charges of assault would have been initialed. I also read that Cuevas refused at least initially to cooperate with the investigation. If that continued, it would be more evidence that what he said happened didn’t.

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            Dude, how do you figure it was a lawful order? I don’t know where you got your law degree either, but you have no idea what a lawful order is, especially if you think it was a “lawful order” . Cops cant just order people around willy nilly, surely you know this.

            “The investigation concluded that the visiting
            student’s behavior was not disruptive, and he was not inebriated to the
            point “where he was incapable of taking care of himself or in need of
            medical attention,” Carey wrote. The student did not decide to file a
            formal complaint or take legal action following the incident. ” <———– That means the cop had no authority to accost, detain, handcuff, or do anything at all to the kid. It also means that the reason he's just fired and not facing charges or a criminal investigation, is because the kid didn't press charges…… Telling a cop that hes acting inappropriately is not a crime, you may wish it were but its not.

            "While Carey maintained that putting the student under arrest was inappropriate" <—meaning he acted outside of his authority, Has nothing what so ever to do with the amount of force and whether the amount of force fell within policy. the only reason the force bit is even mentioned is so everybody knows this was not a police brutality issue, its a police misconduct issue.

            Yes, simple assault & battery is what the charge would have been. Probably other things too…

            Additionally, no, its not likely that he would have lost, (although technically, its the prosecutor that would have "lost" but I digress…. ) as this whole investigation and firing have proven. Finally, all I can do is lol @ "malicious prosecution" Just goes to show you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • I received my law degree from Boston Univ. Where did you get yours? And the order was lawful as the officer was authorized to make it. That it was not consistent with University rules does not make it any less lawful. He was authorized to trespass Cuevas and he did. And Cops can just order people around willy nilly.

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            Then Boston U needs to refund your money. the part you need to concentrate on there kiddo is “Lawful” research that a bit and come back and explain how in the heck you figure it was lawful simply because the cop said it. Cops cant just order folks around willy nilly. there need to be a “LAWFUL” reason for the order. In case you haven’t caught up yet, that’s what the article states, there was no lawful reason for him to ever have accosted this kid, even for disobeying the cops order. This is simply a case of contempt of cop. This officer got what he deserved and his own actions are what caused it.

          • As I said before,you don’t know what you are writing about.

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            And as I said before, I have explained it to you….., you just saying “you don’t know what your talking about” doesn’t refute anything. Post some facts or just go away. It was an illegal encounter and NOT a lawful order. Again, the cop got what he deserved.

          • You still haven’t told me which law school you went to. So I must assume you haven’t gone to law school. But it was not an unlawful order. It was issued by an officer with the power to trespass an individual. That it did not conform to the standard set by Brown, does not make it unlawful as he had the power to trespass Cuevas and did so. That is the fact and how the law is interpreted.

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            Again you totally ignore the fact that he must have a lawful reason to “order” anything….where I attended school is completely irrelevant to the conversation, quit being a tool .

          • Why don’t you just admit that you didn’t graduate from law school?

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            As I previously stated, where I attended school has nothing to do with the fact that you are wrong 🙂 and frankly your obsession with me is kinda weird ~.^

          • I don’t know why you you think I am obsessed with you, as I am not. Maybe you are just projecting your own feelings. But I disagee as to where you went to law school being irrelevant, although it is now clear that you did not. You profess to be an expert in the law and I was just curious what your credentials were. Apparently they are none. Have good life.

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            I haven’t professed to being anything, stop lying…. I commented on an article on the internet. /Grow up. smh

            Additionally, no, the schools I’ve attended and my educational background have absolutely nothing to do with this article. You are the only one that is so intensely interested in it…so yea, pretty much sounds like an obsession.

            As if you think folks that haven’t attended a law school can’t understand simple concepts like “legal” or “Lawful”.

            if that’s the “education” you received at Boston U, then I reiterate my earlier suggesting that you get a refund….and you should probably worry more about your own knowledge instead of obsessing over where some random commentator on a news article went to school…..

          • As William Shakespeare said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

          • Shawn Slatts says:

            As Shawn Slats said “You are a moron”

          • Concerned Dad says:

            Your attitude is why we seeing good cops getting shot in the street. The cop got mad – The cop got fired.

            I am sure this has caused his family considerable hardship (personal and financial). But he made his choices.

          • Concerned Dad says:

            You sound like one of those thug cops.

            The cop needed to mind his own business and he would still have a job.

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