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Appeals court rejects bid by former Momence police chief

A federal appeals court ruled that the city of Momence did not break the law when it fired former police chief Steven Cromwell — and owes the longtime police officer no money.

In an April 12 decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision that the city council did no wrong when it voted in 2010 to fire Cromwell following a four-month investigation into drunk-driving allegations.

Cromwell was never charged but ultimately lost his job after serving on the force since 1975.

The Daily-Journal reported In a lawsuit filed shortly after his dismissal, Cromwell alleged that he was never given a fair hearing and that his firing caused "continuing mental and emotional pain, anguish and distress and severe humiliation; the lowering of his reputation; economic loss of employment benefits; loss of future pay."

He sought an unspecified amount of money.

In 2009, Cromwell resigned as chief but stayed on in the department as a lieutenant. In April 2010, police responded to a 911 call of a drunken driver and found Cromwell sitting in his vehicle at a gas station on North Dixie Highway. They did not arrest Cromwell and issued no citations.

Four months later the city council fired Cromwell for what it called "official misconduct."