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Nebraska Supreme Court rules to reinstate firefighter who was fired following assault and other charges

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Posted at 1:46 PM, Aug 06, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In 2019, Omaha Firefighter and Omaha Firefighters Union President Steve LeClair was fired from the department following charges of assault and battery and disorderly conduct which he pleaded no contest to.

Later, an arbitrator ruled he was to be reinstated. Following two years of litigation after the city challenged that ruling, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled LeClair is to be reinstated as a firefighter.

READ MORE: OFD union pres. to be reinstated after being fired for assault

“Not only is Steve LeClair a decorated firefighter who is personally responsible for saving the lives of Omaha citizens, he is a wartime veteran that has honorably served our country. It has been very unfortunate that Steve’s position as Union president and his advocacy for Omaha Fire Fighters has resulted in a different set of rules being applied and prevented him from protecting Omaha Citizens; a job which he has done since 2002,” stated Todd Morehead, Vice President of Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Local 385.

Following unsuccessful challenges by Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and the city, the mayor is not happy about the ruling.

"I am greatly disappointed in the decision of the Nebraska Supreme Court to give Steve LeClair his job back. The criminal acts that led to LeClair’s termination are reprehensible. Assaulting a woman of color and using a racially charged statement while doing so is inexcusable. This type of behavior is unacceptable for anyone and, even more so, for a firefighter who is supposed to protect the public. While I must accept the decision of the Nebraska Supreme Court, I maintain my position that LeClair’s termination was justified," said Stothert.

LeClair served six months of probation for assaulting a woman who rebuffed his unwanted advances and during which the woman said he yelled "white power" after striking her. He pleaded no contest.

For those years of litigation, Morehead said the city will be on the hook.

“All of this could have been avoided had this incident been handled like every other internal discipline. Instead, the City is now responsible for nearly $1,000,000 of legal expenses, back wages, healthcare costs and retirement obligations,” said Morehead.

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