Police officer decommissioned while supervisors look into photo - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Police officer decommissioned while supervisors look into questionable photo

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

An officer for the Metro Nashville Police Department has been decommissioned while supervisors look into a questionable photo.

In the picture, the uniformed officer uses a hand gesture in a public place while riding a department motorcycle.

Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron identified the officer as Jason Koerner, who works out of the South Precinct. Supervisors decided to decommission Koerner on Monday.

It's unclear what gesture Koerner used, but Aaron said the "picture depicts what it depicts." Koerner is seen pointing his middle finger and thumb at a camera.

"Nashville police officers are expected to uphold the principle of conduct beyond reproach," Aaron said on the phone Monday. "This photograph of an officer in uniform on a police vehicle apparently in a public place is not the type of conduct the department will condone."

Using a social media site, Koerner proved the picture dates back to July 24, 2013, according to Aaron. The officer detailed the incidents in a written statement, claiming a friend across the street had called out to him.

Aaron said Koerner claimed he looked around before flashing a "fraternal" sign of brotherhood at the man - a symbol that was in no way meant to be offensive. Koerner wrote the sign represents a sideways wheel.

Some interpreted the signal differently after seeing the photo.

"Well, he's flicking someone off," said Yvonne Waters, a Nashville resident. "He's shooting him a bird."

Another Nashville resident, Robert Long, called the picture "absolutely disturbing."

"He's here to serve the public, not flip off the public," Long said.

Others suspected a back story probably led to the picture.

"I have some friends in the police force and it can be tough and it depends on what the individual is doing himself," said John Vanhoff, who lives in Murfreesboro.

Waters said she thinks Koerner should answer to this action, but she believes the officer should keep his job.

"He definitely needs to be reprimanded and be reminded he's in an authoritative position," she said.

It's unclear what disciplinary action Koerner might face. He graduated from the MNPD Academy in 2008.

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