Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The Chicago Police Board has cleared an officer in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager six years ago, despite a watchdog's recommendation he be fired.
Bright, a freshman at Robeson High School, was walking to his grandmother's house when he was shot dead. Ternand and partner Victor Razo were responding to a call for a burglary that night, which ended up being a false alarm.
Ternand told the Police Board he and Razo believed they saw Bright in an alley holding a gun, though he was later found to be unarmed. Officers did, however, find a .22 caliber revolver in a yard near the scene.
The board's decision conflicts with a police watchdog that ruled a year ago that Ternand was at fault, due to what it said were inconsistencies in his version of events. The Independent Police Review Authority had called the shooting "unprovoked and unwarranted."
The board said Thursday Ternand had a "reputation for honesty," and it found his testimony "credible and persuasive."
Ternand was "a highly decorated and respected tactical officer with years of experience," the majority said, based on character witness testimony from his partner, his wife and Deputy Chief Kevin Johnson.
Police records show the board found Ternand not guilty of using excessive force, but that he'd still have to face a disciplinary hearing to decide whether he'd be fired. He was suspended without pay for nearly a year before Friday's ruling.
With the board's decision, Ternand won't be fired or disciplined and he will receive back pay for time he was suspended.
Ternand has had 23 complaints filed against him over a four-year span, but has not been disciplined for accusations that range from excessive force to illegal searches, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Bright's family received a $925,000 settlement from the city two years ago.