A police officer who was fired in New Jersey for eating without permission was flanked with support at his reinstatement hearing by his fellow officers.
Dozens of officers flooded the Wayne City Council meeting on Wednesday in support of former officer Erik Ferschman, who filed a civil lawsuit against the township last month claiming he was improperly fired and requesting his job back. One issue Ferschman’s supporters have with his termination is that they claim he wasn’t given a fair hearing.
Ferschman’s loss of employment cost him 86,393 a year, according to state pension records.
Among his supporters was his father Peter Ferschman, who served with WPD for 31 years and retired as a Sergeant.
“It seems to everyone here that Erik was overcharged,” the elder Ferschman said.
Erik had served WPD for about seven years, having served as a dispatcher for four years as well.
Ferschman’s punishment came after he was found eating at a diner with other officers outside his patrol zone in September of 2015. Due to the distance, he was delayed in responding to a call of a cardiac arrest.
Two months later, he was given a notice of termination.
“I hate to see my son having difficulties here,” Peter Ferschman said. “But we’re going to get through it the best we can.”
The younger Ferschman was fairly solemn during the hearing and declined comments, asking all questions be referred to his lawyer.
According to NJ.com, other retired officers present at the hearing spoke against the Wayne Police Department, citing poor leadership that often walked a thin line when it came to harassment and coercion.
Wayne town lawyer Matthew J. Giacobbe said the township would not comment on pending decisions.
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