Councilman questions why Valentine was reinstated twice - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Councilman questions why Valentine was reinstated twice

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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How did former Memphis police officer James Valentine get reinstated twice without going through the proper channels?

Though he resigned, Valentine's previous record is coming under scrutiny at Memphis City Hall. He's out on bond facing aggravated assault charges after a weekend altercation with an ex-girlfriend and another man.

But City Councilman Lee Harris wants to know how he managed to be reinstated with MPD in 2005 and 2011 without going through the civil service commission.

MORE: MPD officer resigns after weekend arrest
MORE: MPD officer charged following incident with ex-girlfriend has resigned
READ: Affidavit of complaint against Valentine

Balancing life and career has proven to be a challenge for Valentine. Involved in five domestic assault cases over the last decade he still managed to pull the right strings to get his job back twice with Memphis Police.

But, who was at the other end of those strings?

Thirteen years ago, it was an auspicious beginning in law enforcement for the then 20-year police service technician. As Robert "Prince Mongo" Hodges uncomfortably listened, Valentine testified in court about his MPD undercover assignment to observe underage drinkers being served inside Hodges' former nightclub "The Castle."
valentine's testimony led to his being hired fulltime by the MPD two years later. What would follow over the next 11 years of his turbulent MPD career would land him in more courtrooms, on the wrong side of the law.

"Two or three counts of aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, for allegedly breaking in his home or the place where he lived," said Arthur Horne III, Valentine's attorney. "He was an individual who wears a uniform and is a police officer and as you know they're held to a higher ... to a different standard."

The 33-year-old Valentine remains out on bond after an alleged altercation with his ex-girlfriend and another man Nov. 9. His arrest marked the fifth time he's been accused of being involved in a domestic assault. His resignation this week followed two previous terminations from MPD in 2005 and 2011 only to be reinstated twice.

It's the unexplained way in which Valentine won reinstatements that's raised some eyebrows at city hall.

"I'd like for officers to have appeals and I think civil service commission is the way to go," Councilman Harris said. "I think that's got to be where the buck stops. It looks like there was some negotiation outside the civil service commission and that gives me cause for concern."

FOX13 News wanted to find out details from the city administration on how Valentine managed to get his reinstatements by way of "settlement agreements" with the city as opposed to the civil service commission making the decisions.

FOX13 News was told it would take until Thursday for the administration to complete a review of Valentine's employment record. In 2005, FOX13 News took a look at the civil service commission's record on the reinstatements of MPD officers ousted from the force.

"If you look at the numbers, the commission upholds the city's position much more than they overturn the city's position," Memphis Defense attorney Ted Hansom said in 2005.

In the same year Valentine was first fired by MPD, the public's attention fell on another ousted officer Patrick Joynt. In his 10-year career Joynt had 50 disciplinary charges on his MPD jacket. He had been fired in 2003 only to be reinstated.

In 2005 Joynt's career finally came to an end when he was among a number of MPD officers caught up in the federal "Tarnished Blue Sting."

As for valentine, Horne said his client has had a rocky road of mixing love and the law.

"He's a human being just like all of us," Horne said. "A lot of time people get in bad relationships, and it's been costly, obviously, for Mr. Valentine."

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