An Edinburgh police officer is returning to work and getting back pay after pleading guilty to battering another officer.
Officer Christopher McAllister, 44, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery he faced after getting into a confrontation with police near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, according to court documents.
A Marion County court sentenced McAllister to 40 hours of community service as part of a plea agreement. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office dropped charges of resisting law enforcement, public intoxication and disorderly conduct as part of the deal.
McAllister could have faced up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine on the battery charge, but the prosecutor did not request any jail time or probation, according to court documents.
McAllister’s attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday.
McAllister, who has worked for the Edinburgh Police Department for 14 years, had been suspended without pay for eight weeks.
The town council decided this week to let McAllister come back to work because the case was resolved, town attorney Dustin Huddleston said. The council voted unanimously Monday to end his unpaid suspension and give him six weeks of back pay. He still lost two weeks of pay as punishment.
He returned to his job as a patrol officer Tuesday, interim police chief David Lutz said.
The council decided to restore part of his pay because of the financial hardship he went through, town council president Ron Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the council agreed that two weeks without pay was an appropriate punishment. McAllister never had disciplinary issues before, he said.
“He’s had an outstanding record, and that played into it,” he said. “He’s not been paid for eight weeks and been in knots, not knowing if he’d have a job after the court case played out. There’s a lot of emotional strain on any individual. All those things together played into it.”
Hoffman said he believed that McAllister learned his lesson from all the stress he went through and that it was an isolated incident.
The council decided how to handle the incident because the council serves as the town’s police merit board, Huddleston said.
Edinburgh has no policy about what to do when a police officer is arrested or pleads guilty to a crime. The town does have rules and regulations that ban conduct unbecoming an officer, Huddleston said.
An officer could be fired if he or she were sentenced to time in prison and couldn’t report to work, Huddleston said. But in this case, the council determined that the guilty plea did not interfere with McAllister’s ability to do his job.
In May, Speedway police arrested McAllister after a witness reported a domestic disturbance. Police said McAllister refused to stop shouting, sprayed officers by throwing a beer to the ground and grabbed and bumped an officer.
McAllister then resisted arrest and would not put his hands behind his back until Speedway officers forced him to the ground and handcuffed him, according to a police report.