While Metro police continued to investigate one of their own for misdemeanor assault against an arrested suspect, the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police – the union that represents the officer – spoke out.
Metro Police said Officer Elizabeth Berry-Loucks was searching 22 year old Rachel Hill at the Cambridge at Hickory Hollow apartments in Antioch early Tuesday morning, after Hill had been arrested for felony heroin and drug charges.
During that search, police say Officer Berry-Loucks was stuck by an uncapped syringe hidden in Hill’s bra.
Police said Berry-Loucks then immediately slapped Hall in the face.
Berry-Loucks has been decommissioned -- put on desk duty -- for the time being.
Police said decommissioning is simply taking away police powers while an investigation is underway, and it's not punitive.
However, Friday, a petition asking that the officer to be reinstated, circulated online. It said the move was motivated by the political and social pressure facing police officers today.
The petition had more than 250 supporters as of Friday afternoon.
President James Smallwood of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police gave this statement to NewsChannel 5:
"This was obviously a reaction to a serious situation. It was not ever the officer's intent to commit a crime, and we think the evidence will support that. The Fraternal Order of Police will support her as an organization throughout the process."
Police said the process of decommissioning an officer during an investigation is standard procedure, and not politically motivated.
Hill faced several charges including possession of heroin for resale, and violation of the crooks with guns law.