Crime & Courts

Judge dismisses accusations against Oakwood Hills village president

A federal judge has ruled the village of Oakwood Hills president did not violate the rights of the village’s former police chief, who was fired while recovering from a work-related injury.

Judge Philip G. Reinhard agreed last month to dismiss claims that former Police Chief Peter Goldman was denied due process in his firing and that he was let go in retaliation for exercising his right to free speech. Reinhard gave Goldman’s attorney, Thomas Radja, Jr., until Friday to file a new complaint. As of 5 p.m. Friday, a new complaint was not filed, public records show.

Goldman was injured in a crash Oct. 14, 2016, while responding to an emergency call of an armed, barricaded subject with a hostage, the complaint said.

In Feb. 2017, while Goldman was still out on disability, village President Paul Smith appointed a new chief of police and Goldman was removed from the police department roster.

Goldman accused the village of not providing “a written statement of allegations, any report of discipline, and review of the discipline or any counseling or response from [Goldman],” the complaint stated.

Reinhard dismissed the claim because Goldman was an at-will employee

The former chief also said he was retaliated against for issuing a survey to other officers, some of whom were critical of the village president’s handling of police department operations.

Reinhard ruled Goldman was speaking as an employee, rather than private citizen when he gave the survey to his officers and reported their responses to Smith.

“Accordingly, this speech was not protected under the First Amendment,” the judge wrote.

Attempts to reach attorneys for both parties were unsuccessful.

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