Council members discuss ruling for fired HPD officer | News
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF)- A ruling by the City Council has put Officer Philip Lee back on the force of the Huntsville Police Department. Some council members said they believe in second chances and Lee should have been given anger management courses or more training before he was fired.
Councilman Bill Kling voted in favor of Lee.
"Well, Officer Lee is not really going to have a second chance given to him," Kling said. "He's going to have to earn his way back. I think a six month suspension without any salary is certainly a very strong message that we are very concerned about this situation. However, I support our police officers because there is always that chance that he or she gets up that morning and could be killed in the line of duty."
Councilman Will Culver said he was shocked by his constituents' vote and that putting Lee back on the force sends the wrong message to the public and the police department.
"It sends a message, I think, to the police officers that, 'Hey if we get into a situation, we can always take it to the council and they might reverse it,'" Culver said. "We don't ever want police officers to think that they can seemingly violate the rights of individuals, go outside the policy of the police department and be protected."
Huntsville residents also seem to be down the middle when it comes to Lee's termination and reinstatement.
"Honestly, I think the initial ruling was accurate," said Joel Burks. "I think they should have suspended him indefinitely, found him another line of work or something like that."
Parker McDonald said that he can see both sides of both council members.
"I could see how it would go either way because he should know better, but she should know better than to talk at the officer like that because he was just doing his job," said McDonald.
Council members couldn't decide if Lee should be suspended for three months or six. Interim Chief Lewis Morris will decide how long Lee will be suspended.
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