Union Applauds Officer's Reinstatement

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

An arbitrator has ruled that a West Palm Beach Police officer should get his job back and the police union couldn't be happier.

In May 2008,  Officer Jason Zangara repeatedly punched a handcuffed suspect and was later  fired by West Palm Beach Police for use of excessive force.

An arbitrator has just ruled that Zangara used unnecessary force, but not excessive force.

Zangara was one of three officers who were caught on dash-cam video roughing up a suspect who had just robbed a CVS pharmacy.

The police union,  which fought to get Zangara's job back,  says what Officer Zangara did was justified because the suspect had spit on him and he was trying to escape.

"We're trained to neutralize the threat. Listen, you know when we go out there and we're on the streets and we come up on armed robbery suspects or things like that, yeah we have to use whatever force to neutralize the suspect. Officer Zangara just was doing what he was trained to do," said John Kazanjian, President of the Palm Beach County County Police Benevolent Association.

The arbitrator ruled Zangara should go back to work August 23.  But a police spokesman says they're reviewing their legal options and have not set a date when he will go back to work.