PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) - The town of Lincoln is moving forward with the process to terminate a convicted, suspended police officer but Target 12 has learned that the civil case could take years.
Edward Krawetz was convicted in January of felony battery after his May 31, 2009 kick to the head of Donna Levesque was caught on camera at Twin River.
Vincent Ragosta, who represents the town in the civil case, told Target 12 the complaint and notice will be filed within the next 3 weeks to beat the 3 year statute of limitations on the assault charge.
"But we have to determine what we can do next," Ragosta said, citing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights in Rhode Island.
The state law allows the civil process to begin after the case is 'adjudicated'. Ragosta said the question is does that mean after the conviction or after the appeal.
"We're trying to determine that through case law," Ragosta said. "The civil case may have to wait until the appeal is over."
Krawetz' attorney John Harwood filed his appeal after the conviction and tells Target 12 he expects a response from the court before the end of April.
"We'll know how we'll proceed after that," Harwood said. "I think we'll hear something in about 10 days."
Attorneys on both sides tell us the appeal itself could take up to 2 years.
Krawetz was convicted by Judge Edward Clifton in a bench trial and the 20 year veteran was sentenced in March to 10 years suspended and ordered to undergo counseling. He will not have to serve jail time but is suspended from the police force without pay. He will continue to receive medical benefits while the cases move forward.
The town's complaint and notice will eventually lead to a hearing. The 'LEOBOR' calls for a tribunal of law enforcement officers to hear cases like this one. Krawetz will pick one officer, the Lincoln police chief will pick a second and the two sides pick the third 'neutral' officer.
According to Ragosta, If Krawetz is reinstated by the tribunal, he could be awarded years of back pay.
A civil lawsuit by Levesque is also expected in this case but so far that suit has not been filed in either state or federal court.
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