When Mr. Acevero noted that the meeting was completely inappropriate, they fired him:
The movement for greater accountability in policing poses a dilemma for organized labor. Union federations include and indeed welcome police organizations. Yet police unions can use their clout to win protection from complaints of officer brutality and other misconduct.
We offer no advice as to how union leaders should address this conundrum, but it is clear what they should not do: expel unionists who take a principled position in favor of police reform. And that is what Local 1994, which represents Montgomery County’s public employees, stands accused of doing to one of its salaried employees.
The staffer, Gabriel Acevero, 29, doubles as a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, having represented District 39 in Montgomery County since January 2019. Mr. Acevero, who is black, has been outspoken against police abuses and is sponsoring a bill to provide greater transparency on misconduct cases: A key provision gives complainants access to previous documented allegations against accused officers. Mr. Acevero calls his bill Anton’s Law, after a 19-year-old African American from Caroline County, Anton Black, who died in policy custody in September 2018 under still-unclear circumstances.
In December, Local 1994 president Gino Renne, whose union also includes Montgomery County deputy sheriffs, summoned Mr. Acevero to meet with him, as well as deputies and an official of the county’s Fraternal Order of Police unit. The topic, according to an email from Mr. Renne: Mr. Acevero’s “support of legislation that interferes with our members’ employment rights” and “is in direct conflict with [the union’s] representational obligations and responsibilities.”
Mr. Acevero reiterated his position and said he considered the meeting inappropriate — whereupon Mr. Renne fired him. “I can’t have someone on my payroll who is slandering the very people who pay his salary,” Mr. Renne told us in an interview. Mr. Renne offered Mr. Acevero $35,000 severance if he would promise in writing not to discuss his firing publicly. Mr. Acevero refused, and instead filed a formal complaint against Mr. Renne’s union at the National Labor Relations Board last month.
Gino Renne should be under criminal investigation, because this was a clear attempt to offer something of value to influence the actions of a public official.
Renne should be frog-marched out of his offices in handcuffs.