A Cincinnati police officer is trying to get his job back after he was fired for getting the words "pure evil" tattooed on his hands.
Eric Weyda was dismissed from the police department for insubordination and failure of good behavior in late April, four months after his superiors noticed the red-and-black stylized letters covering the knuckles of each hand -- which violates a policy prohibiting tattoos on the face, neck, head and hands, reported WLWT-TV.
"Officer Weyda's tattoos are a violation that is ongoing and permanent," his superior officers wrote. "Additionally, Officer Weyda's tattoos do not promote the professional and neutral image of the Cincinnati Police Department and are injurious to the public trust."
Internal records show Weyda was initially reassigned to the impound lot "to limit his public exposure," but he was eventually fired after he refused to have the tattoos removed and the department determined the message on his hands had "the very real possibility to cause extraordinary damage to police community relations both locally and nationally."
"Weyda showed remorsefulness for obtaining the tattoo and acknowledged a lack of discretion since he obtained the tattoo in December 2021," reads a summary of his disciplinary hearing. "Furthermore, Officer Weyda stated, like all of his tattoos, his hand tattoo has a personal message to him, and the words 'pure evil' should not be observed as one message. Officer Weyda explained the words 'pure' and 'evil' are separate from each other and the words themselves have separate meanings."
The officer told internal investigators the tattoo was meant to represent a "struggle between good and evil."
Weyda was "counseled" a month before he was reassigned for doing a burnout in his personal vehicle a police station parking lot, and he was previously disciplined over his 16-year career for absenteeism and using coarse language when responding to calls for assistance, among other reasons.
His annual reviews declined starting in 2018 and continued over each of the following years, and he received his worst marks in 2020, when Weyda was told he needed to improve his compliance with policies and procedures, customer service, grooming and dress, teamwork, community partnerships, work product and patrol practices.
However, the police union agreed to represent Weyda in his bid to get his dismissal overturned.
"The FOP represents all Cincinnati police officers when they participate in the grievance process outlined in our collective bargaining agreement," said Fraternal Order of Police president Dan Hils. "Every officer is entitled to a fair hearing and that's what will take place here."
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