The city’s Civil Service Board voted unanimously Thursday to reinstate police officer Christopher "Jay" Childers to the police department. After two days of testimony, the board voted to reinstate Childers, who was fired three years ago for excessive force.
Childers was suspended and then terminated after an investigation into a 2009 incident in which he was caught on video kicking Juan Gomez-Perez, a handcuffed Guatemalan immigrant. The investigation into the incident also led in part to the resignation of then Police Chief Peter Abbott.
“There is a reason I fought this for three years,” Childers said. “I believe I deserved punishment, but not termination.”
Childers, who was an officer for nine years before he was terminated, hugged his mother after hearing the decision Thursday; several officers who attended the hearing welcomed him back. Childers said he is hopeful there won’t be any negative reaction by the community.
“I think reasonable people will say he had a trial and an opportunity to present evidence,” Childers said.
Part of the argument in defense of Childers was that the former officer’s actions were not aggressive and that he had used the appropriate force to keep Gomez-Perez, who was arrested for being intoxicated and disorderly, on the ground.
Childers said he was anxious to get back to work and being a police officer again. The board voted unanimously to give Childers a written reprimand for two policy violations, both for failing to fill out a use-of-force report.