Court upholds termination of Taylorsville police officer
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals has determined that Taylorsville City and its police department had grounds to terminate one of its officers.
Brad Gillespie was terminated from the police department for apparent dishonesty during an internal investigation stemming from two allegations of misconduct in 2010, according to the ruling released Thursday. Gillespie was accused of showing two separate officers a pornographic video on his cellphone and called some on-duty officers to his home while he was off-duty, and "very intoxicated," and jumped onto one of their cars, denting the hood.
Based on these allegations, an internal affairs investigation was started and other officers as well as Gillespie were called in for interviews. In the interview, Gillespie apparently said he had only "kinda leaned up against" the officer's car and had only had one or two beers.
"Later in the interview, however, Gillespie conceded that he probably stood on the police car and also admitted to drinking heavily," the ruling states.
Gillespie initially denied having a pornographic video on his phone, but then only denied showing it to other officers. But after additional questions, and learning of information provided by the other officers, Gillespie admitted he showed two officers the video and had offered to show it to a third, according to the ruling.
The investigator concluded that there was evidence to support both allegations and that Gillespie "dishonestly answered" some of the questions. The investigator recommended that Gillespie be put on 40 hours leave without pay for the pornography incident, be given a written warning for the intoxication incident and be terminated for dishonesty.
"The investigator reasoned that termination was appropriate because Gillespie's dishonesty could be used to impeach his credibility if he were called to testify against a criminal defendant," the ruling states. "The assistant police chief agreed that Gillespie should be terminated for dishonesty."
Gillespie appealed to the Taylorsville City Employee Appeal Board, which found that the instances of dishonesty did not merit termination because they either "did not involve Gillespie's public safety duties" or involved questions that Gillespie might not have known pertained to the investigation.
The board reversed Gillespie's termination, but Taylorsville City appealed that decision to the Utah Court of Appeals. Judge Carolyn McHugh, who was joined by James Davis and Michele Christiansen, set aside the board's decision, finding that it had failed to address certain concerns, including police chief's concerns about Gillespie's credibility.
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