Oak Park police officer Christian Priesmeyer was formally suspended for 30 days by the village’s Fire and Police Board Saturday morning after admitting to making a racial slur while on duty in the Oak Park police station last September. In what basically amounts to a plea agreement, the 16 year veteran officer acknowledged the factual basis of four charges brought against him by Police Chief Rick Tanksley in November.
Priesmeyer, who was suspended beginning midnight last Saturday, had been ordered suspended without pay Nov. 17 by the board. While the 30 day suspension is the harshest penalty the board can impose on a police officer without dismissing that officer, Priesmeyer could have served longer than 30 days.
At his discretion, said Tanksley, he was crediting Priesmeyer with the time already served under the terms of his previous suspension, meaning Priesmeyer can expect to return to active duty around Dec. 17.
After announcing Priesmeyer’s penalty, Fire and Police Board Chairwoman Ida Rolden read a prepared statement.
“We want to make it clear that we consider this to be serious,” she said. The board, she said, does not condone the type of language Priesmeyer used, calling it “a poor reflection on the police department, the village and all its citizens.
“Any future violations by Officer Priesmeyer or any other officer will be dealt with severely.”
Priesmeyer, who was supported by the presence of 10 other officers from Oak Park and other forces, declined to speak to the media after the hearing. He was, however, seen shaking hands with members of the Fire and Police Board, apologizing to and thanking them. His attorney, Tamara Cummins, said she believed the hearing process had been fair, and that Priesmeyer was looking forward to going back to work.
“We’re just happy that it’s resolved,” she said.
Tanksley said that he agreed fully with the board’s findings, and expressed hope that Priesmeyer would return to the force soon, “with a positive outlook.”