Cincinnati police officer fired for getting 'pure evil' tattooed on his knuckles

Eric Weyda is appealing his termination
Former Cincinnati police officer Eric Weyda's tattoos.
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 18:28:47-04

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Police Department fired an officer in April who got the words 'pure evil' tattooed on his knuckles and refused to remove the tattoos.

CPD records show former officer Eric Weyda received the tattoos last December.

A CPD Internal Investigations Section investigation determined Weyda's tattoos violated department policy. Weyda was guilty of insubordination because he refused to remove the tattoos, according to the IIS investigation.

Former Cincinnati Police Officer Eric Weyda
Former Cincinnati Police Officer Eric Weyda

"Weyda was dismissed from CPD for failure of good behavior and insubordination," CPD spokeswoman Emily Szink wrote in an email response to the WCPO 9 I-Team's questions. "Weyda has appealed his dismissal and filed a grievance with the Fraternal Order of Police."

CPD records show the department initially responded to Weyda's 'pure evil' knuckle tattoos by giving him an Evaluation Supplement Log (ESL), the lowest level of discipline.

ESLs are used to supplement annual performance reviews.

Weyda was also transferred from patrol to the police impound lot.

A contractor for a city vendor saw his tattoos and complained, prompting the internal administrative investigation.

"Officer Weyda's tattoos are unprofessional, inappropriate and in direct opposition to promoting public trust and confidence," according to the internal investigation report.

In the initial interview with IIS investigators, Weyda refused to describe the significance of his 'pure evil' tattoos.

"It's not my obligation to explain to you what the meaning of my personal tattoos are," Weyda said.

Later, under a direct order from interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge, Weyda explained what the tattoos meant to him.

"It signifies the fight of criminal justice, of good versus evil," Weyda said. "I get to look at those reminders every day — that that's why I go to work."

Former Cincinnati Police Officer Eric Weyda
Former Cincinnati Police Officer Eric Weyda

In his interview with the department's IIS investigators, Weyda insisted that his tattoos reflect the community's diversity.

"It's unfortunate that the department only chooses to run on the diversity issue when it comes to black or white, or male or female," Weyda said.

On April 7, Weyda had a pre-disciplinary hearing on the findings of the internal investigation. He admitted that he made a mistake getting the tattoos while working for the police department, insisting he should be allowed to cover up the tattoos and remain a police officer.

But the hearing officer, Capt. Craig Gregoire, recommended that CPD terminate Weyda.

"It would be foolish and cause unnecessary liability, if the department was to deploy Officer Weyda with the message he carries," Gregoire wrote.

Chief Theetge recommended firing Weyda.

Based on that, Interim City Manager John Curp signed off on the Notice of Disciplinary Action dismissing Weyda.

Weyda filed a grievance with the police union and has appealed his termination.

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