The Citizen’s Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) is aware of the troubling reinstatement of Lieutenant Marc Hayes with two years of back pay after his termination for sexual harassment in October 2018. The Commission is outraged to hear that Lt. Hayes was given his job back through arbitration between the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) and its union, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 5.
Lt. Hayes was terminated by PPD for sending a graphic video portraying bestiality to two female officers under his supervision in a group text message. During an Internal Affairs investigation, one of the officers informed detectives that Lt. Hayes suggested that she lie and testify that she had no recollection of the incident.
The FOP, in support of Lt. Hayes, claimed his actions were a poor attempt at humor rather than sexual harassment. David J. Reilly, who arbitrated the case, decided the PPD was unable to prove that the actions of Lt. Hayes constituted sexual harassment, or that either officer felt offended by Lt. Hayes’ text. This entirely dismisses the fact that the negative impact of Lt. Hayes’ actions extends to Philadelphia residents as well as other officers. After all, the investigation into Lt. Hayes began with an anonymous letter found at his district – at least one person was impacted enough by his actions to report him.
CPOC condemns the arbitrator’s decision. It compromises the PPD’s stance against discrimination and harassment and this decision could have negative effects on other victims of harassment within the Department. This decision degrades the PPD’s relationship with its own members, who have the right to a safe working environment free from sexual harassment. It also damages the PPD’s reputation and further strains the Department’s relationship with the public.
To say it plainly, Lt. Hayes was found guilty of sexual harassment after an Internal Affairs investigation and the Police Commissioner acted appropriately in firing him. His reinstatement through arbitration directly undermines the Police Commissioner’s authority over the Department, making it difficult for problematic officers to be disciplined in the future.
This decision is emblematic of PPD’s broken discipline arbitration system – a system that requires reform at the state level. CPOC will continue to advocate for reforms to PPD processes to strengthen internal investigations and ensure procedurally just outcomes. The reinstatement of Lt. Hayes is further proof that the time for action on discipline arbitration from our political leaders, both at the state level and in future contract negotiations with the FOP, is long past.
The motto of the PPD is “honesty, integrity, service.” Though he has expressed remorse for his actions, apologies cannot undo the ripple effects of disgusting and unacceptable behavior. Lt. Hayes’ actions preclude ability to provide service to the residents of Philadelphia and have brought disgrace to the PPD. We encourage him to follow the only honorable course of action and resign immediately.
CPOC will continue to monitor this incident and will continue to advocate for a fair and transparent police department that puts public trust above the tenure of a problematic officer.