After hearing two days of testimony, the city’s Civil Service Board voted unanimously Sept. 20 to reinstate police officer Jay Childers to the department. The officer will receive almost three years of back pay.
In 2009, Childers was suspended and was terminated from his job as the result of an investigation into an incident in which he was caught on video allegedly kicking a handcuffed Guatemalan immigrant.
“There is a reason I fought this (termination) for three years,” Childers said in an interview after hearing the board’s decision.
Childers, who had been an officer for nine years prior to his 2009 termination, hugged his mother after hearing the decision.
Part of the argument in defense of Childers was that he used the appropriate force in the situation. Juan Gomez-Perez was under arrest for being intoxicated and disorderly downtown.
According to testimony from Demetrios Konstantopoulos, who was on scene when Childers brought Gomez-Perez into the police department, it seemed like Childers used a push or shove — not a kick — and was trying to keep Gomez-Perez from falling over, and keeping him from spitting on Childers and other officers.
Ken Shelin, former city commissioner and a member of the Civil Service Board, said he changed his mind on the second day of the hearing, after hearing Konstantopoulos’ testimony. He eventually voted to reinstate Childers.
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The St. Boniface Youth Group held an ice cream social for families Sunday, Aug. 17, in Siesta Key Village.
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