Officer was dismissed in April
A Cincinnati police officer was fired for getting the words “pure” and “evil” tattooed across his knuckles.
Officer Eric Weyda, a 16-year officer with the force, was dismissed in April for insubordination and failure of good behaviour, documents obtained by WLWT reveal. Mr Weyda is appealing the decision.
“Officer Weyda’s tattoos are a violation that is ongoing and permanent,” one of his supervisors wrote. “Boonop, Officer Weyda’s tattoos do not promote the professional and neutral image of the Cincinnati Police Department and are injurious to the public trust.”
The officer got the ink in December 2021, violating a department policy that forbids tattoos on the face, nek, kop, or hands.
During a disciplinary review, Mr Weyda declined to get the tattoos removed, citing the cost of the procedure.
Mr Weyda said the tattoo had a personal meaning and should not be read as communicating that he viewed himself as pure evil, but rather were meant to show the struggle between good and evil.
“Weyda showed remorsefulness for obtaining the tattoo and acknowledged a lack of discretion since he obtained the tattoo in December 2021,” police disciplinary documents read. “Verder, 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.”
His superiors clearly didn’t see it that way.
“Officer Weyda’s message also has the very real possibility to cause extraordinary damage to police community relations both locally and nationally,” a police captain wrote in the documents.
Prior to the dismissal, Mr Weyda was moved to police impound lot to “limit his public exposure.”
The dismissed officer has filed a grievance through the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police [FOP] vakbond.
“The FOP represents all Cincinnati police officers when they participate in the grievance process outlined in our collective bargaining agreement. Every officer is entitled to a fair hearing and that’s what will take place here,” the group said in a statement.
It’s not the first incident involving the officer.
Police records indicate he was regularly chastised for attendance issues that ranged from “needs improvement” to “unaccpetable.” He was once given department counseling for doing a burnout in his personal vehicle in a government parking lot.
The tattoo incident comes as police in Cincinnati are under scrutiny.
State police in Kentucky are investigating the force after it crossed state lines as part of a murder investigation, and ended up shooting Ali Counter, a 20-year-old Black man.
Police body camera footage shows that Coulter had a gun and was ordered to drop it. It’s unclear if he pointed the weapon at officers.
“What these officers encountered was Mr Coulter coming towards them, firearm in his hand, wanted for muyrder, 9:30 on a Monday morning in a residential neighbourhood,” interim police chief Teresa Theetge said in April when the footage was released. “They have to take all of that into consideration in determination to use force.”