The Huntsville City Council voted 3-2 Thursday night to give officer P.J. Lee his job back. Only one of the five city council members was willing to explain their vote today. Councilman Kling says it was a tough decision.
Kling, along with John Olshefski and Richard Showers, all voted in favor of giving Lee his job back. Council President Mark Russel and Will Culver, however, wanted to make his termination final.
Lee was fired in May after an internal affairs board ruled he had used unnecessary force during a traffic stop in 2011. Kling says although Lee deserves to be punished, it's unfair to fire him.
"In a nutshell, I think the police officer and the woman in the car were both at fault. We're always saying we support our police officers and they have a very tough job. Every morning they wake up and go to work there is a chance they could be killed in the line of duty. So there is risk involved and I think that this is a situation where there can be tough punishment but not termination," explained Kling.
The council couldn't agree on what Lee's punishment should be. They are asking for Chief Morris to give a recommendation to the council on how long Lee needs to be suspended. The council plans to vote on whether to accept that recommendation at its meeting next week.
Meanwhile, the hearing for fired HPD officer Brett Russell has been scheduled for August 9th.