Peoria policeman to appeal demotion over Obama pic - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Peoria policeman appeals demotion over Obama pic

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Pat Shearer Pat Shearer

PEORIA, Ariz. - An Arizona police officer demoted and suspended for posting a photo of a bullet-riddled image of President Barack Obama on Facebook is appealing the decision.

Officer Pat Shearer argued against his demotion and two-week suspension without pay from the Peoria Police Department.

Shearer said he was an "idiot" for posting the photo. However, Shearer said his commendations should not be forgotten because of one incident.

"One of the kids said, 'Hey I want to shoot my Obama T-shirt,' I don't know why. I saw it as a piece of cloth. I did not think of that as a symbol of my president, I saw it as a piece of cloth," said Shearer.

That's how the picture came to be on Shearer's Facebook page. He thought only friends and family could see it -- but less than two weeks later controversy erupted.

A Peoria city spokesman says Shearer was punished for breaking city policy and he could have been fired.

They called the fallout from the picture "devastating" to the department.

"He could have been terminated... he put 7 young students online and they will have to deal with this in school and in the future. So accountability is what this is about," said NAACP president Oscar Tillman.

A hearing officer will make a recommendation to a city personnel board, which will make the final decision. It could take awhile.

The photo showed seven teenagers, including some holding guns and one holding what appeared to be a shot-up Obama T-shirt.

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The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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