Peoria police officer appeals demotion over Obama pic

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- 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.

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

Officer Pat Shearer argued on Tuesday 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.

"You did take full responsibility for your actions," asked the City Attorney.  "Absolutely," said Shearer.

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

"It's my belief I shouldn't have received 80 hours suspension or a demotion," said Shearer.  "Should I have received some type of discipline? Absolutely I vioalted that policy."

Shearer alleges that the punishment he received was retaliatory.

"By demoting you and giving you a 10 day suspension, you say the Chief retaliated against you for comments you made about his computer program?" asked the City Attorney.  "That's correct," said Shearer.

A hearing officer will make a recommendation to a city personnel board, which will make the final decision.  That decision can then be challenged in Superior Court.