After a 45-minute executive session during a special council meeting held June 25, New Martinsville City Council decided to take no action, letting stand the June 15 decision by council to suspend Patrolman Don Larsen for 30 days without pay.
The motion made by Councilman Steve Pallisco at that special June 15 meeting stated, according to the minutes, “After consulting with Chief (Tim) Cecil and Deputy Chief (Donnie) Harris concerning the internal investigation involving Donald Larsen using excessive force on a handcuffed individual at the Wal-Mart parking lot, I would like to make the recommendation that we suspend Patrolman Donald Larsen for 30 days without pay, we make available classes and demand that Larsen attend classes for pepper spray training and anger management training.”
The motion carried unanimously with all councilmembers present. That suspension is to begin July 7.
Prior to the June 25 executive session, Chief Cecil questioned two aspects of the action.
He wanted to know if Larsen can forego two weeks of his vacation days to satisfy part of the suspension. The city had not received a definitive ruling on that request, but has since been told it is up to council. A special council meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night, but that decision was not on the agenda.
The second issue brought up by Cecil was council’s involvement in the matter at all. He claimed one city department head suspended an employee for three days without council’s approval and now this decision is not Cecil’s to make. “It should be consistent. There’s a double standard,” he claimed.
However, he did agree that the patrolman did not react properly in the situation. No details were given about the incident.
Councilmembers present at the June 25 meeting were Chris Bachman, Casey Corliss, Holly Grandstaff, and Joel Potts III.