Infamous “Tupper Incident” Police Officer To Ask For Job To Be Reinstated

The University of Vermont is upholding its decision to dismiss police officer, Matthew Sheehan. Sheehan was fired primarily for his involvement in the “Tupper incident” this fall, but also, according to University lawyers, for his overall performance and disciplinary record, which has been called into question. As eyewitness and author remembers the incident: “I was merrily along my way across Main Street near Living and Learning one drizzly November afternoon when out of the blue I became an innocent bystander in what seemed like an episode of Cops. Three police vehicles, heading west, sirens wailing, came to a screeching halt right in front of UVM’s Parking and Transportation Services building. One officer jumped out of his car and proceeded to pull his gun on a passerby dressed in a black sweatshirt in a manner that conjured up thoughts of NYPD Blue for this eyewitness.” The incident occurred on November 6, 2003, when UVM Police Services were on the lookout for a suspect described as a “Dark-skinned black male, 6’to 6’2′ tall, 18-22 years of age, with a slender to average buildA person matching the description was seen, and Sheehan, who was close to the “suspect”, ultimately took action. However, the person on whom the second police officer pulled a gun on and who was handcuffed brought to the ground was not the described black, but rather an African American female student of a much shorter stature, on her way to class. “It was a relatively brief encounter,” said UVM spokesperson Enrique Corredera “As soon as the officers realized they had the wrong person, they immediately released that person.”Direct action was taken against the officer in question; he was placed on desk duty while President Fogel sent out a campus wide e-mail informing students and faculty of what happened as well as the investigation concerning racial profiling and the actions of the officer. Since then, the officer has filed papers to have his job reinstated on the grounds that he was fired without just cause. His union, the Chauffeurs, Teamsters, Warehousemen, and Helpers Union No. 597, said that it was only after she was handcuffed that it was made clear that the student was female. It may be a long time yet before the public is made aware of the details of what will hopefully be the end to all this; it could be months before a date for the hearing is set and comes to pass.