News

Gettysburg pays $10K to officer involved in Taser incident

Written by Lillian Reed/Hanover Evening Sun | Jun 30, 2016 3:44 AM
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This screenshot shows 28-year-old Derek Twyman in his car during a May police stop in Gettysburg as Gettysburg Borough Police Officer Christopher Folster aims his Taser at him.

(Gettysburg) -- A former Gettysburg Borough police officer who was involved in a controversial Taser incident last year received a $10,000 payment from the borough as part of the collective bargaining agreement that led to his resignation.

Former officer Christopher Folster, who used a Taser during an arrest captured on camera in May 2015, agreed to resign last month as a term of an agreement negotiated between the borough and the police labor union, Teamsters Local 776.

Folster, whose resignation took effect earlier this month, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Details of the release agreement became public record Tuesday, after the period of time in which Folster could legally back out of the agreement had passed. The release agreement, which The Evening Sun obtained through a Right-to-Know request, states that "following an independent investigation, the borough was made aware of conduct of Folster that caused concern."

The agreement, in addition to describing the $10,000 payment, states that neither Gettysburg nor the union "is conceding whether or not there is just cause for Folster's termination." The borough also agreed to provide the former officer with a neutral job reference, including dates of employments and rank held, in response to any inquiry.

Folster will also receive his current health, vision, dental and term life insurance for the rest of the 2016 fiscal year or until he obtains another job, the agreement states.

Gettysburg Borough Council wished Folster well in his future endeavors in a June 28 news release concerning the release agreement.

In the news release, council declined to comment any further on the topic.

"While the borough council strives to meet the expectations of the borough's residents, taxpayers and the public in general concerning the amount and detail of information underlying borough decisions, in personnel matters no one benefits from public rhetoric about current or former employees," the release states. "This is a policy based on matters of fairness and legal mandates and is further based on the potential liability to the borough in failing to heed such principles."

Folster was placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 18, several months after a video captured by his borough-issued body camera was released online. The footage shows Folster using a Taser to subdue Derek J. Twyman, who had refused orders to get out of his car. Twyman was later acquitted of resisting arrest, a success he credited to review of the footage during his trial.

Following the acquittal, Gettysburg Borough Council solicited an independent review of the police department from law enforcement and legal experts. This review cost the borough more than $10,000.

For months, several Gettysburg residents used the public comment portion of council meetings to criticize the borough's decision to spend money on the review and for placing Folster on administrative leave.

This article comes to us through a partnership between WITF and the Hanover Evening Sun.

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