FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A former Roswell police officer is suing the department and the city over what he calls wrongful termination and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
David Booth was an officer for nearly 20 years.
"I was the consummate police officer. It meant the world to me. If I could be a police officer again tomorrow, I would," Booth told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik.
In February 2014, Booth was working an extra job escorting a funeral procession on I-575 when a woman hit his motorcycle from behind.
“I was thrown onto the hood of her car,” Booth said. “I had an open pelvis fracture … life-flighted to Grady in a coma.”
During his recovery, Booth said he suffered a nerve injury that partially paralyzed his right hand.
After months of recovery, Booth got word from his doctors he could return to work.
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“My doctor released me back to duty and gave them a letter that recommended, as I continued to recover further, that they put me a lighter duty capacity,” said Booth.
Booth’s lawsuit contends Roswell police denied his request to work in the courtroom and insisted he go back on the road.
“Personally, I don’t think the chief thought I’d make it. When I did, that’s when they started throwing down additional road blocks and additional hurdles and denied me the reasonable accommodations,” Booth told Petchenik.
Within months, he said his superiors were writing him up for various issues.
“I wasn’t, in their words, writing enough reports and making enough self-initiated contacts,” Booth said. “I freely admit I wasn’t as proactive as I could have been, but if you fire someone for not being proactive, you’d have to fire half that day's squad.”
In February 2016, Booth said department brass terminated him. He later learned they cited five different policy violations, including parking his car behind a building during his shift, not responding to a call, and, in one case, forgetting his department-issued firearm at home.
“In 18 years, you leave a piece of work equipment at home, is that a terminating offense?” Booth asked. “The only thing that made me an undesirable employee is that I’m essentially one-and–a-half handed.”
Petchenik reached out to the Roswell City Attorney, who declined to comment on the pending litigation.
David Davidson sent Petchenik a form letter from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission which had a box checked saying the agency was unable to conclude if Roswell had violated Booth’s rights.
Attorney Clifford Hardwick told Petchenik he believes the city gave Booth a raw deal.
“Mr. Booth has an incredible story of courage and perseverance,” Hardwick said. “He overcame handicaps to come back to be a police officer, and his reward for all of that was to be terminated under absolutely ridiculous circumstances.”
Cox Media Group