Village council approves settlement agreement with sergeant

The sergeant filed a civil rights complaint after the city manager disciplined her.

Namoi Watson, previously known as Naomi Penrod, filed a complaint with the state civil rights commission on Feb. 10.

As part of the agreement, the village will dismiss discussions about disciplinary action, provide Watson with back pay and a 3 percent raise retroactive from Dec. 6, 2015 and pay Watson’s attorney fees which total $18,500.

“I would like to say how happy I am this matter has been resolved,” said Yellow Springs Village Council President Karen Wintrow. “We’ve been working on it, and a lot of time has gone into it. It’s a good resolution. Sgt. Watson is an important asset not only to the police department, but also to the community as a whole.”

Neither residents who attended the meeting nor other council members commented on the agreement.

Yellow Springs Village Manager Patti Bates imposed disciplinary action against Watson, including a three-day suspension on Dec. 14, 2014, after village resident Athena Fannin reported Watson twisted her wrists and took a recording device from her hands outside Fannin’s Allen Street home. Two days of the suspension were enforced, and Watson was also subject to a six-month “performance improvement period.”

During the performance improvement period, there was discussion about additional disciplinary action in connection with another unrelated incident, according to Bates.

“Shortly before the filing of the OCRC matter, the village was considering the possibility of whether to initiate and consider discipline,” wrote Bates in an email on Wednesday. “After the complaint was filed, the decision was made to engage in mediation. As part of the mediation process, information was shared and a determination made that discipline was not warranted. The village considers the matter closed.”

In addition to the disciplinary action issued by Bates in 2014, Watson was placed on administrative leave with pay while facing assault, disorderly conduct and interfering with civil rights criminal charges in connection with the incident with Fannin.

Watson was acquitted of all charges in 2015.

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