Fired police officer gets his job back
Fort Myers - A Fort Myers police officer who was fired last year is now getting his job back. The officer was arrested but charges against him were later dropped. That's why he says the police Chief made a bad decision. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason getting his hands on documents from the initial investigation.
This officer says the police Chief discriminated against him. That's why he fought back, hoping to save his career and his reputation. Fort Myers police Chief Doug Baker fired officer O’Neil Kerr last year but next week he's getting his badge back.
O’ Neil Kerr: "I was singled out, I am not sure why. I've had a clean record, I've never been disciplined by the City of Fort Myers police department."
Last march, Kerr was arrested on domestic violence charges which were eventually dropped. Kerr says five months later Chief Doug Baker fired him.
O’ Neil Kerr: "I would definitely say it's discrimination."
Kerr claims discrimination because he says other officers have been arrested for domestic violence and kept their jobs. The Chief refused to comment on Kerr's case, and suggested we review the department's investigation, so we did.
Chief Baker's top brass reviewed Kerr's arrest and recommended he either receive a written reprimand or be suspended for 40 hours for conduct unbecoming an officer.
According to documents, 3 Captains and a Lieutenant investigated Kerr's case and they all determined there was not enough evidence to prove that he broke the law. Despite all of this, Chief Doug Baker decided Kerr should be terminated and that's when he was fired. That's also when Kerr fought back.
O’ Neil Kerr: "I withdrew all of my pension to pay for my legal bills because I wanted to prove, I at least wanted to show that what was done to me was wrong.
Mike Mason: “So you paid thousands of dollars?”
O’ Neil Kerr: "Thousands of dollars.”
This week, Chief Baker sent out this memo stating the legal department is now recommending Kerr to be re-instated to his officer position and he’ll receive $18,000 in back pay. Those charges that he violated the law will now be changed to 'not sustained'. The City will also pay the costs associated with his arbitration.
O’ Neil Kerr: "It was about clearing my name."
Kerr says the City will not reimburse him for his legal fees. We asked Chief Baker specifically why he fired Kerr in the first place and he said the investigation speaks for itself.