A Cincinnati police officer was fired in late April for tattooing the words "Pure" and "Evil" across his knuckles. While he was remorseful about getting the controversial tattoos, he declined to remove them because of the cost. He was dismissed for insubordination and failure of good behavior.
Cincinnati Police Officer Fired For Getting 'Pure Evil' Tattoo On His Knuckles
Eric Weyda, 50, was dismissed from the department for the failure of good behavior and insubordination following an internal investigation, a Cincinnati police spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. The former officer is now appealing his termination and has filed a grievance with Cincinnati's police union.
Weyda was hired to the department in 2006, records show. "At that time, Officer Weyda was extensively tattooed, but in compliance with" Cincinnati Police Department procedures, an internal investigation report states.
Those procedures were updated in 2013 to disqualify applicants with tattoos on the face, head, neck or hands, records show. While the procedures allow for limited exemptions for existing neck tattoos, it expressly excludes tattoos acquired after being hired to the department.
In documents, department officials said Weyda was aware of the tattoo prohibition but chose to ignore it.
Since he was hired, Weyda acquired tattoos on his neck and head "in an irregular geometric pattern," the report says, adding he got the tattoos on his hands in December of last year. In an interview with investigators, Weyda said he has tattoos covering 95% of his body.
That same month, Weyda was informed by supervisors that the tattoos on his hands violated procedure and he was transferred to the department's impound unit "as a temporary measure to limit his exposure to the public," disciplinary records show.
While he was working at the impound lot, the department received a complaint from a city vendor regarding Weyda's tattoos, according to the report.
Cincinnati, OH | "Eric Weyda was fired from the department after getting "pure" tattooed on his right knuckles and "evil" on his left knuckles. Weyda appealed the decision to dismiss him and filed a grievance through the Fraternal Order of Police." https://t.co/wmp1AEkbQ7— #ACAB (@OLAASM) June 7, 2022
During an April pre-disciplinary hearing, Weyda said he doesn't regret getting his tattoos but that he would have done things differently, if given the chance.
"I made a bad decision by getting the tattoos on my knuckles," he said.
In interviews and at the hearing, Weyda repeatedly declined to explain the meaning of his tattoos citing their personal nature. "To be honest, they (the tattoos) have meaning to me, not only where they're at, but what they say," he said.
Though Weyda did explain to investigators that the words tattooed on his hands represent "a struggle between good and evil," disciplinary records state.
However, higher-ups in the department noted the tattoos' message could be perceived by the public as hostile.
"Quite simply, a police officer's hands should be seen a symbol of safety and security rather than a provocative message of depravity and harm," Capt. Craig Gregoire wrote in a pre-disciplinary hearing summary.
Weyda's annual performance reports show he's consistently received a "needs improvement" rating in categories of grooming and dress as well as complying with department policies and procedures.
The former officer was counseled by supervisors last year after he did a burnout in the District 3 parking lot with his personal vehicle, personnel records show.
And in 2020, Weyda was reprimanded for asking a woman "Why you gotta be a smart a**?" when she asked him why he was shining a flashlight in her face, the records state.
Weyda has also received commendations for his investigative skills and for apprehending a suspect who was armed with a gun, according to his personnel file.
The Cincinnati police spokeswoman referred further questions regarding Weyda's appeal to the Fraternal Order of Police. Cincinnati police Sgt. Dan Hils, the union's president, has yet to respond to a message seeking comment.
Weyda is now hoping to get his job back through his local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.