CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago police detective should not regain his job after he was fired over a photo that made it appear he and another officer had hunted and killed an African-American man, an Illinois appellate court has ruled.
The court on Friday upheld the Chicago Police Board's decision to fire Timothy McDermott for violating three department rules: bringing discredit on the department, disrespect of a person, and unnecessarily displaying a weapon, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
McDermott appealed a Cook County judge's 2014 decision to uphold his firing. The appellate court found the police board's ruling was not arbitrary or unreasonable.
The black man in the photo is wearing antlers, and the officers are standing over him holding guns. Then-Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who had asked the Chicago Police Board to fire McDermott, called the photo "disgusting."
McDermott's attorney, Daniel Herbert, said they questioned whether the department had enough evidence to prove its case, "especially in situations where the employee has character and an unsullied work history such as Tim's."
"We respect the court's decision," Herbert added. "This is a chilling example of how a dedicated and accomplished career can be brought down by a 10-second decision made more than a decade earlier."
The U.S. attorney's office had obtained the 2002 photo during a criminal investigation of Finnigan and other officers in connection with a robbery ring. Federal prosecutors turned the photo over to the Chicago Police Department in 2013.
The other officer posing in the photo, Jerome Finnigan, is serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.
After the photo surfaced, police officials said they were unable to identify the teenager wearing antlers in the photo, but the Sun-Times reported last year he was Michael Spann, a 17-year-old whom McDermott had arrested in 2002 on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Spann died in a 2007 drive-by shooting.
Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/