PHOENIX – The video made national headlines — a Phoenix Police officer caught on camera tackling a teenage girl.
The chief of police wants to suspend that officer, but the officer says it’s too harsh, and he’s appealing the decision.
That officer is fighting a 5-day suspension. He believes he acted within policy, but a disciplinary review board and the chief don’t think so.
It’s been two years since video of Officer Patrick Larrison surfaced online, and the debate continues, did Officer Larrison use excessive force when he pushed a 15-year-old girl to the ground?
Police were called to the school after a drunk teenager got into a fight with her teacher — then started walking away from officers.
“It’s a case in which we have varying opinions and differing opinions about use of force,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump about the video last year.
Crump made the comment just before Larrison went before a disciplinary review board. Now the department can’t comment on the case.
Sources tell us the board recommended a 32-hour suspension. But Chief Daniel Garcia thought the punishment should be more severe and gave Larrison a 40-hour or 5-day suspension. Typically that’s the maximum number of days you can suspend an officer.
Larrison has now appealed the chief’s decision and he’ll go through a city civil service hearing. Sources tell us Larrison has at least three experts within the department who watched the video and agree he acted within policy.
Acting within policy is one thing — but the board will have to decide if what he did was within reason considering it involved a teenage girl.
In the past, it’s been unusual for the police chief to impose a harsher penalty than the DRB recommends.
But Chief Daniel Garcia is new and has taken a pretty firm stance against officers who he believes violate policy.