Judge won't reconsider ruling on York City officer accused of mocking Floyd murder

Brandon Addeo
York Dispatch
York City Police Chief Troy Bankert, left, and Officer Clayton Swartz as officials investigate a fatal shooting reported near the corner of South West and West Princess Streets in York City, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. York City Mayor Michael Helfrich said the shooting resulted in the death of an adult male and an injured juvenile who was transported to York Hospital. Dawn J. Sagert photo

A York County judge denied a recent motion from a suspended York City officer who’s trying to get his job back.

Attorneys for Officer Clayton Swartz filed a "motion to reconsider" earlier this month, which asked Judge Matthew Menges to overturn his order denying Swartz's objections to the York City government's appeal of his reinstatement. Menges issued a two-page opinion last week denying that request. 

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Swartz was accused by three people of jokingly pressing his knee on another man’s neck, in the same manner as George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, at a May 2020 graduation party.

He went before a police trial board, which found him not guilty of violating departmental policies.

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The city government, through Mayor Michael Helfrich, has since expressed unwillingness to let Swartz return to work despite the board's ruling and an arbitration decision that favored Swartz.

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The city appealed to the county's Court of Common Pleas, which drew objections from Swartz's camp. Among the objections from Swartz's attorneys were claims the city shouldn't be allowed to appeal the ruling, which they argue is "final and binding."

Menges previously ruled that Swartz and his attorneys weren’t allowed to file preliminary objections based on the type of appeal the city had lodged.

That was also his basis for denying Swartz's motion to reconsider. 

"Without Officer Swartz setting forth compelling reasons for reconsideration of that threshold issue, reconsideration is simply not warranted," Menges wrote. 

With the rejection of Swartz's objections, the case will move forward. Swartz attorneys Ed Paskey and Douglas France filed a discovery request on Thursday that includes requests to take depositions from Helfrich, the three people who accused Swartz and former York City Police Commissioner Osborne "Moe" Robinson III.

Attorneys for the city still have not filed a formal response to a separate lawsuit from Swartz filed in late July, which demanded Swartz's reinstatement and additional monetary damages. 

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