TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — A State Supreme Court judge has ordered that a Town of Tonawanda police officer under investigation be reinstated with back pay.
State Supreme Court Judge Mark Grisanti ruled in favor of Officer Howard Scholl, as first reported by The Buffalo News. The ruling from the judge states town officials improperly handled the case.
According to attorney Paul Weiss, who is representing Scholl and the police union, the town did not have the legal authority to discipline under town law and should have gone under the collective bargaining agreement instead.
“In this case – they didn't have authority to proceed under a separate law because it didn't take the necessary steps to be able to proceed under that law,” explained Weiss. “I believe that officer Scholl should be put back on the force – active with his benefits. I think that while the town has the discretion to suspended him without pay – it has hurt him – it has hurt his family."
Tonawanda supervisor Joe Emminger tells 7 Eyewitness News they will appeal the judge's ruling. Scholl will remain suspended without benefits or back pay during the appeal process.
Officer Howard Scholl was involved in an off-duty crash back in January. The accident happened at Englewood Avenue and St. Johns. Sources close to the investigation say Scholl III was coming from a Town of Tonawanda SWAT Team Awards Dinner at Sinatra's down the street from where the crash happened. An initial police report stated his wife Aimee Scholl was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. But days later the report was changed saying it was Scholl's who was behind the wheel. Scholl was then suspended without pay.
The Town of Tonawanda board recommended the termination of Scholl from the police department in February. Meanwhile, the police department and Erie County District attorney's office continue to investigate the case.