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Community Digest

Maywood : Rehiring of 2 Policemen Stirs Protest at City Hall

March 05, 1992

Despite a steady rain, about 40 Maywood residents turned out Monday to protest the reinstatement of two police officers fired last year for allegedly using excessive force.

The officers, Darin Moeller, 26, and Albert Rusas, 31, were back on the beat Monday, according to Maywood Police Chief Ted Heidke, who fired them in January, 1991, after an Internal Affairs investigation over alleged brutality.

Both officers had been active in the police officer's association, and blame the firing on their involvement in acrimonious contract negotiations with the city.

Last month the county Civil Service Commission ruled that there was no justification for the firing, and ordered that the officers be given back their jobs.

The rehiring sparked a wave of protest, led by a City Council candidate in the April 14 municipal election.

"The way I look at it, they were fired for a reason," said Michael Bueno, 26, who organized the gathering in front of City Hall. "Maybe they will come back as good cops, but I don't think so."

Heidke said he was a little surprised by the protest at City Hall, since it was the county and not the city that ordered the officers back on the job.

"We did what we thought was right" at the time they were fired, Heidke said. "Obviously the county did not agree. But the officers have now been vindicated, and we have to go on as we did before."

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