According to former Cincinnati police officer Eric Wayda, he should not have been let go from his position with the city’s police force. The former officer tattooed the words “pure” and “evil” on both of his knuckles as a signal of his intentions. The 50-year-old is now appealing his recent dismissal from the Cincinnati Police Department, arguing that he was unjustly dismissed due to his offensive body art.

In December 2021, Wayda purchased the tattoos and had them placed in his knuckles. He immediately broke the police department rule against cops having tattoos on their faces, hands, head, or neck. While Wayda’s tattoos were clearly against the police department code, other officers considered him unprofessional because of them.

“Officer Weyda’s tattoos are a violation that is ongoing and permanent,” Cincinnati police leadership stated. “Additionally, Officer Weyda’s tattoos do not promote the professional and neutral image of the Cincinnati Police Department and are injurious to the public trust.”

Although Weyda didn’t inform anybody he had the tattoos, they were noticed immediately. This is when his superiors moved him to the impound lot so that he would not have to deal with members of the public. The disciplinary reports note that Weyda was taken off duty for reasons of health and safety concerns “as a temporary measure to limit his exposure to the public.”

A city vendor, on the other hand, filed a complaint regarding the officer’s knuckle tattoos. As a consequence of this, the police department was unable to hire back the officer who had broken regulations and committed crimes against his or her peers.

Weyda went to a pre-disciplinary hearing in April, where he presented his case for getting the tattoos on his hands.

“I made a bad decision by getting the tattoos on my knuckles,” he said. He did not want to be “pure” or “evil” hidden though. He also stated that he had 95 percent of his body inked and was unwilling to pay the cost of having the tattoos removed since doing so on a policeman’s salary would be costly.

The father also maintained that his tattoo had nothing to do with “pure evil,” but rather represented the symbolic fight between good and evil.

“To be honest, they have meaning to me, not only where they’re at, but what they say,” he stated.

CPD’s Craig Gregoire, nevertheless, said that body art was indecent.

“Quite simply, a police officer’s hands should be seen as a symbol of safety and security rather than a provocative message of depravity and harm,” Gregoire wrote in a pre-disciplinary hearing summary. “Officer Weyda’s message also has the very real possibility to cause extraordinary damage to police-community relations both locally and nationally.”

After Weyda got the ink, he was let go from his job four months later. For disobedience and good behavior, he was dismissed. But Weyda is working with the Fraternal Order of Police to appeal his firing. Will Weyda be able to get his old job back? That will need to be seen over time.