City Manager Says Police Officer Will Remain Fired

November 12, 2009

City Manager Michael Ross on Tuesday announced he will uphold the termination of Nelson Hernandez, a West University Place police officer who was fired for allegedly fabricating reasons he pulled cars over.

West U. Police Chief Ken Walker fired Hernandez on Sept. 19 after an internal affairs investigation revealed that in-car video from the former officer’s police car allegedly showed the reasons he recorded in offense reports for pulling over two cars earlier in the summer had not actually happened. Hernandez now faces two felony charges of tampering with a governmental record.

“Police officers have to have integrity,” Walker said in late October. “We will not tolerate dishonesty.”

Hernandez appealed his termination and the city held an appeal hearing on Oct. 29. He and his attorney were unable to mount a defense to the termination because anything they said could be used against Hernandez in his criminal trial for the two felony charges.

This week, Ross affirmed the termination because he found that Hernandez violated city rules regarding “unbecoming conduct” and “obedience to laws and regulations,” according to the grievance ruling.

In one case, Hernandez said he pulled over a car for a defective brake light on a certain street, but his in-car video allegedly showed he was in a different area at the time and wouldn’t have been able to see the car on that street. The video allegedly showed he pulled the car over in another area, which was actually in the Houston city limits, not in West U. as the officer allegedly wrote in his report. In another case, Hernandez allegedly wrote on a report that he pulled over a car for a defective brake light, but the in-car video showed that both lights were working properly. Read more about the charges here.

Hernandez told InstantNewsWestU in late October that he was “shocked” by the city’s allegations.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” Hernandez said on Oct. 30. “I adamantly deny the charges being brought against me. At this point, we’re just going to let the judicial system prevail.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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