Johnson v. Priest, 31668

Decision Date21 December 1965
Docket NumberNo. 31668,31668
Citation398 S.W.2d 33
PartiesMarion JOHNSON, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. H. Sam PRIEST, Russell L. Dearmont, Kenneth Teasdale, Alphonse G. Eberle, Members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners, and Raymond R. Tucker, Ex Officio Member, Defendants-Appellants.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Thomas F. McGuire, City Counselor, St. Louis, Eugene P. Freeman, Associate City Counselor, for defendants-appellants.

James J. Rankin, St. Louis, for plaintiff-respondent.

BRADY, Commissioner.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the circuit court reversing an administrative determination by the Board of Police Commissioners of the City of St. Louis dismissing the respondent from the Police Department for cause. We will refer to the respondent by that designation and to the Board of Police Commissioners as 'the board.'

The circuit court's judgment was responsive to plaintiff's petition for review. The record brought to the circuit court from the board consists of the following: the charges and specifications made by the department against the plaintiff; the transcript of the testimony of witnesses appearing at the board's hearing; documentary evidence in the form of the plaintiff's 'daily activity sheet,' the 'Police Manual,' and the Police Department's report file relating to the plaintiff's record while with the department; and the board's decision which consisted of written findings of fact and conclusions of law and the order entered based thereon. The 'Police Manual' provides for the government and discipline of officers of the department. Certain of the rules contained in the Police Manual govern the conduct in the performance of duty by officers of the department. Other rules regulate the procedures to be followed in hearings before the board involving a contested disciplinary proceeding relating to violation of department rules. These require that a formal pleading containing the charge or charges of one or more violations of a rule and a specification of facts which allegedly supporting each charge must be filed to commence a contested disciplinary proceeding. In the instant case all of the charges and the facts related in the specifications filed in support thereof arose from the same occurrence.

The specific charges made against the plaintiff were as follows: Charge I was an alleged violation of Rule 15, Section 2, relating to 'conduct unbecoming an officer'; Charge II was a violation of Rule 7, Section 2, Subsection K, which provides that an officer '[s]hall not take part or be concerned, either directly or indirectly, in making or negotiating any compromise or arrangement with any person whatsoever, the purpose or object of which may be to permit one accused of wrongdoing to escape the penalty of the law * * *'; and Charge III alleged a violation of Rule 27, Section 6, which provides that '[n]o member of the Department shall accept, directly or indirectly, from any person liable to arrest or complaint or in custody, or after discharge * * * any reward or gift whatsoever.' Each of these charges was supported by a detailed specification.

The findings of fact as made by the board were: that on the occasion out of which the charges arise the plaintiff was a member of the Police Department and assigned to duty in the Ninth District; that on the date of the occurrence out of which the charges arise he was on duty in a one-man patrol motor vehicle being the only unmarked black patrol vehicle present in the Ninth District at that time; that at approximately 3:00 a. m. on the date of this occurrence the plaintiff, while alone, stopped, detained and accused Jessie Jackson of operating a motor vehicle without a lawfully required driver's license and of failing to obey the signal of an electric traffic control device located at the intersection of Cass and Grand Avenues in the city; that during the course of talking to and questioning Jackson and Charles Archie, a companion of Jackson, the plaintiff was found to have learned that Archie was in charge and control of the motor vehicle and had permitted Jackson to operate it; that the plaintiff threatened to take Jackson into custody and to conduct him to the Ninth District station house but did not do so after requesting and accepting a bribe from the said Archie and Jackson in the form of $17.00; that upon receipt of this amount he permitted these two persons to remain at liberty without any charges being placed against them. The last two paragraphs of the board's written findings of fact should be set out in full and are as follows: '6. That the said patrolman, through his testimony before this Board, denying the occurrence of the above facts, falsely testified and is not believed by this Board; 7. That the two witnesses, Archie and Jackson, have not been shown to have any motive for charging Patrolman Johnson with commission of the foregoing facts, other than normal outrage at being blackmailed by an officer of the law; and their credibility upon testifying is considered reliable and truthful.'

It further appears after the occurrence described in the findings of fact two other police officers noticed Archie and Jackson 'hanging around' a phone booth located on the premises of a filling station at Cass and Spring Avenues. The officers deemed this suspicious and interrogated these men. Archie then told the officer of the bribe and stated he was attempting to call police headquarters. These officers took Archie and Jackson to the Ninth District Station where their story was repeated.

In the instant case the briefs and the transcript disclose that there is no dispute with regard to the presence of evidence sufficient to support the findings of fact made by the board. The respondent did not contend before the...

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8 cases
  • Phipps v. School Dist. of Kansas City
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • November 23, 1982
    ...decision as an exercise of a mingled power, since the construction of the contract involved a judicial function only. Johnson v. Priest, 398 S.W.2d 33, 36 (Mo.App.1965); Citizens for Rural Preservation, Inc. v. Robinett, Chairman, 648 S.W.2d 117 (Mo.App.,1982); Shewmaker, Procedure Before, ......
  • McCallister v. Priest
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • January 8, 1968
    ...the evidence before it and whether the board's decision was clearly contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence.' Johnson v. Priest, Mo.App., 398 S.W.2d 33, 35. Furthermore, as stated at page 36 of said opinion, 'It has repeatedly been stated that, in reviewing matters of this natur......
  • Friedman v. Miller
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 27, 1975
    ...v. Missouri State Bd. of Mediation, 478 S.W.2d 690 (Mo.App.1972); McCallister v. Priest, 422 S.W.2d 650 (Mo.1968), and Johnson v. Priest, 398 S.W.2d 33 (Mo.App.1965). The Commission found that the Assessor dismissed Miss Friedman because of her failure to process a quantity of personal prop......
  • Sowder v. Board of Police Com'rs, KCD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 27, 1977
    ... ... Johnson v. Priest, 398 S.W.2d 33, 35(1, 2) (Mo.App.1965) ...         This principle of ... ...
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