An arbitrator has reinstated a high-ranking Philadelphia police official who was fired in 2020 after allegations he had retaliated against those who spoke out against a practice of falsifying arrest records and property receipts.

Anthony Boyle, who held the title of chief inspector, had been cited by Internal Affairs investigators for failure to supervise, neglect of duty, and conduct unbecoming of an officer. But an arbitrator ruled that his dismissal violated policy.

Boyle’s lawyer, George Bochetto, said the decision is “a testament to the integrity of Tony Boyle, and it really does show what he’s been put through.” Boyle was reinstated with full pay and seniority, and awarded back pay for the two years he spent fighting his firing, Bochetto said. Boyle has 44 years with the department.

The Police Department declined to comment beyond a statement saying it is reviewing the arbitrator’s decision, and will abide by its contract with the police union to adhere to such decisions.

According to documents filed in court, Boyle, 69, was in charge of the Narcotics Bureau in 2017 when he oversaw an effort to recruit off-the-books informants, even if it meant falsifying paperwork and hiding information from the District Attorney’s Office.

» READ MORE: How the police arbitration system overturned the firings or discipline of more than 100 questionable Philadelphia cops

In lawsuits, four officers who spoke out against the practice said that Boyle retaliated against them. One, Capt. Laverne Vann, alleged that Boyle sought revenge by forcing her to undergo bike training, during which she fell and injured herself. She also accused him of attacking her while she was handcuffing a suspect, trying to push her to the ground.

The officers also alleged racial hostilities perpetrated by Boyle and other white officers, including racist comments and unfavorable work assignments for Black staff.

One of those lawsuits, filed by Vann and former Staff Inspector Debra Frazier, settled for $177,500, according to court documents. Vann, Frazier, and their lawyer did not return phone calls Tuesday.

In a 2019 interview, Boyle said that all he was doing was advancing “legitimate and long-standing law enforcement procedures.”

“It is 100 percent about attempts to get nonproductive members of the bureau to become productive or to get rid of them, and definitely a large portion of [the pushback], if not the total impetus, is an antiwhite sentiment among some of the minority officers,” he said at the time.

News of the reinstatement was first reported Tuesday by Fox29.

Hans Menos, vice president at the Center for Policing Equity and former head of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, said he worried that the treatment of whistleblowers in this case would deter officers from coming forward next time. For an arbitrator to overturn an Internal Affairs finding, he said, undermines the legitimacy of the disciplinary process.

“If you talk to people in the Police Department, these are the kinds of cases that make them think accountability is a joke,” he said.

» READ MORE: Philadelphia police have fired a chief inspector at the center of a narcotics scandal and alleged assault

A 2019 Inquirer analysis found that, when the Fraternal Order of Police backs a fired or demoted officer, the discipline was overturned at or before arbitration 70% of the time.

Civilian Police Oversight Commission member Hassan Bennett said such outcomes have the effect of eroding the public’s trust in the police.

”Here, Internal Affairs clearly found he violated policy, and arbitration gave him his job back,” he said. “Until we see the bad apples, find the misconduct and get them off the force, then that distrust will continue.”