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ANAHEIM | Community News Focus

Jury to Weigh Damages for Fired Officer

March 26, 1997|GREG HERNANDEZ

A civil jury will begin deliberating today on how much money former police officer Steve Nolan should receive for being wrongfully fired from the Anaheim Police Department in 1993.

Attorneys for Nolan, 34, are seeking unspecified damages for pain and suffering and compensation for the amount of money their client could have earned had he remained an Anaheim police officer. The jury on Monday found that Nolan's dismissal from the force was in retaliation for his reporting two incidents of alleged police brutality in 1991 and '92.

Nolan won his job back in 1994 after a ruling by an impartial arbitrator but his attorneys say he fears for his life and is unable to work for Anaheim or any other law enforcement agency.

The city's attorneys contend that Nolan is fully capable of working as a police officer, if not in Anaheim then somewhere else. They maintain that Nolan is more interested in collecting a large settlement than finding a job.

During the trial's penalty phase on Tuesday, Nolan's wife, Annie, emotionally testified about the stress her husband has endured, including suffering from sleeping disorders. Some jurors grew tearful as she described when he called in March 1993 to tell her he had been fired.

Her voice breaking, Annie Nolan recalled him saying, "They took my gun, they took my badge."

Two psychologists called to testify offered dramatically contrasting views of Nolan's situation.

Dr. William Winter, a psychologist who had treated Nolan, testified that the former officer had suffered from a deep depression that was currently "in remission" and said he continues to suffer from an anxiety disorder.

But Dr. Melvin Schwartz, who examined Nolan on behalf of the city, said that Nolan did not appear have an illness that prevented him from working as a police officer.

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