Fired Belding officer reinstated

File photo of Officer Jason Cooper.

BELDING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Belding police officer who was fired in November 2013 after he got into a fight with another man at a pub is back on the job.

Officer Jason Cooper was reinstated effective Monday, Will Keizer of the Police Officers Labor Council confirmed to 24 Hour News 8.

The union said after a round of arbitration Cooper will receive all of his back pay minus an eight day suspension.

A police report showed Cooper, who was off-duty at the time, was leaving the Grattan Irish Pub on October 11, 2013, when he got into a fight with a Clarksville man who admitted to using a racial slur toward Cooper, who is of Asian descent.

During the fight, it was alleged he indirectly hit a pregnant woman who was trying to break up the brawl.

Cooper’s union rep admits that the officer made a mistake by getting into the fight, but said the firing went overboard. Cooper’s union filed a grievance against the Belding City Manager in November.

24 Hour News 8 was able to obtain Cooper’s personnel file through the Freedom of Information Act. Cooper had a long list of violations with the Belding Police Department, including being fired in 2000 for what a former chief called a “reckless” police chase that put the lives of innocent people in danger. He eventually negotiated for his job back.

Cooper is a 17-year veteran of the Belding Police Department.

Dozens of people rallied in Belding back in November to show support for Cooper holding signs that read “Bring Coop Back.”

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