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Police officers union withdraws lawsuit against city of Claremont and Chamber of Commerce

The Claremont Police Officer’s Association has dropped its charges against the city of Claremont and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce, according to members of the CPOA Wednesday morning.

“The parties discussed and clarified the events that precipitated the lawsuit and agreed that the lawsuit resulted from an unfortunate series of miscommunications and misunderstanding. Demonstrating its spirit of cooperation, the Claremont Police Officers’ Association has directed its attorney to withdraw the lawsuit,” according to a statement released by the Chamber of Commerce.

The CPOA filed a lawsuit against the 2 agencies last month alleging that their First Amendment rights were violated at the 2011 Village Venture Arts and Crafts Fair.

“We want to move on with the community and get back to everyone working together for the good of all,” said Detective Rick Varney.

As stated in the lawsuit, Detective Ewing informed Maureen Aldridge, Claremont Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, that Claremont police officers, dressed in civilian clothes, wanted to set up a table to pass out flyers stating that the city was "not prioritizing public safety” during contract negotiations. The lawsuit further stated that Ms. Aldridge told the CPOA that they could set up a station next to the Claremont Police Department booth on Village Venture at no additional charge. However, the police were later forced to take down their booth because it was set up in an inappropriate section of the faire and no other table space was available.

The city and Chamber released a statement in response to the lawsuit last week saying that the CPOA was given permission to pass out fliers at the Police Command Post, but not to set up a separate table elsewhere. The CPOA was asked to remove the table they set up away from the command post “in accordance with Village Venture policies and in fairness to the 474 paid vendors,” stated the press release. 

The 3 groups met early Wednesday morning to “discuss and clarify” the events that took place at Village Venture and found “the lawsuit resulted from an unfortunate series of miscommunications and misunderstanding,” according to CPOA Vice President Robert Ewing.

“We were able to work through the issues that had come up,” he said.

“The city and Claremont Chamber of Commerce continues to support and appreciate the men and women of Claremont Police Department and everything they do to keep the citizens, businesses and visitors safe and welcome in our community,” the city and Chamber representatives said in a statement.

—Beth Hartnett

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