- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) - Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett has laid off an officer who was no longer acceptable to the district attorney’s office as a witness because a jury found he had fabricated evidence.

But Garrett said that laying off Miguel Monico was not a disciplinary action, and he complimented Monico on his service, The Oregonian (https://bit.ly/1yPWHxi ) reported.

In September, a federal jury awarded a man $30,000 after determining that Monico had fabricated evidence in a 2010 case that involved white powder that tested negative for cocaine. After that, District Attorney Bob Hermann said his office had lost confidence in Monico.

Monico’s lawyer, Dan Thenell, said he plans to challenge the sheriff’s decision.

Thenell said the jurors in the 2010 case may have had trouble reaching a verdict based on questions they asked and the low dollar amount they awarded.

Garrett said Monico couldn’t continue to work if he couldn’t testify in court - but that he would be eligible for reinstatement if his status with prosecutors changes in the next 18 months.

“This action in no way reflects discredit on you or your job performance, as you are a valued employee and have exhibited a dedicated service to the citizens of Washington County,” Garrett wrote Monico in a November letter that was released Tuesday. “Your service to the department and to the citizens of Washington County is appreciated. I wish you success in your future endeavors.”

Monico was formerly an officer in Cornelius, a Washington County city where the department was in turmoil for years over corruption and mismanagement allegations. He was one of four officers who submitted a letter to city officials in 2012 alleging corruption. Along with another officer, he filed a $1.5 million suit last year alleging officials retaliated for reporting corruption.

The department was dissolved last summer after officials deemed its internal problems unfixable. Cornelius contracted with the sheriff’s department for law enforcement services.

Under state law, the sheriff’s office was required to retain all of the Cornelius officers once that contract took effect.

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Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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