Appeals courtroom upholds town of Richmond’s firing of officer for purpose in sexual exploitation scenario

An appellate court docket has upheld the metropolis of Richmond’s final decision to hearth a previous police officer who was portion of a 2016 sexual exploitation scandal involving an 18-year-old.

In a June 30 ruling, a three-decide panel uncovered that the dismissal of the officer, Lt. Andre Hill, was “harsh” but “within a array of sensible discipline.”

Hill was just one of a quantity of officers in various Bay Space regulation enforcement organizations who exchanged sexually express messages or experienced sexual intercourse with the teen, then known as Celeste Guap. The previous Richmond police main and an administrative legislation choose proposed demoting or suspending Hill, but former Richmond metropolis supervisor Monthly bill Lindsay fired him in 2017, citing “predatory actions.”

Hill appealed the selection to a demo court docket, which denied his petition, and then to the Court of Attraction Very first Appellate District.

Some of the other officers concerned in the scandal had been fired or suspended.

The Chronicle was unable to attain Hill or his legal professional for remark late Saturday.

“Hill maintains he was terminated on an unlawful foundation, namely a ‘singular, lawful non-public sexual come across with a consenting grownup,’” Justice Kathleen Banke wrote in the ruling. “Hill is correct, as the (administrative legislation decide) and demo courtroom equally identified, that law enforcement officers have privateness and associational rights with regard to intimate and sexual off-duty relationships. Yet, regulation enforcement officers may possibly be disciplined for off-obligation perform that undermines the public’s self confidence in the company or section.”

An administrative investigation into Hill’s actions found that he exchanged 324 messages with her between 2015 and 2016, generally whilst off-duty, and engaged in oral sexual intercourse with her when he was off duty in 2016. He did not know she was a sexually exploited teen and did not interact in sex in exchange for private info or special procedure by legislation enforcement, the investigation located.

Catherine Ho is a San Francisco Chronicle team author. E mail: [email protected] Twitter: @Cat_Ho