Court Says Fired Norman Police Officer Can Return To Duty

Friday, April 1st 2011, 6:21 pm
By: News 9

Jacqueline Sit, News 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A Norman police officer fired after shooting a naked man in 2008 now has court approval to go back to work.

The city of Norman appealed a ruling in 2009 to keep John Terry, a 10-year veteran officer, from going back to work.

Terry is still fighting to get his job back and court ruled this week said he could go back to work, but he said it may not be that easy.

"My family and I are beside ourselves. My family and I are overjoyed that the court has decided in our favor once again," said former Norman police officer John Terry.

Terry was fired after he shot and wounded a naked man who was trying to run over him at a Norman apartment complex. An arbitrator ordered Terry reinstated, but the city of Norman believed the decision was flawed and appealed. Now a court has turned down the city's appeal for a new trial on the firing of the officer.

"This is the fifth straight decision in our favor in this case and we're just happy and anxiously waiting for the next step," said Terry.

Terry is now working in retail but it hasn't been easy for this father of three struggling to make it in a poor economy.

"I have gone from substitute teaching to laying tiles to delivering donuts and cutting trees down. It's been difficult, the last two years have been financially stressful for us," he said.

Stressful because Terry said the city may try to appeal the process again, taking it to the state Supreme Court this time, but he's not giving up.

"The drive of what keeps us going and keeps us fighting is sticking up and taking care of the officer's rights," said Terry.

He also said he'd be happy to be a police officer again and said how he thinks he will be received if he does go back.

"All of the officers in the past have been very supportive and those will be the immediate employees I will be working with," said Terry. "It's very possible that the administration may try to make things difficult, but it may be in their best interest to do that."

For now, Terry will keep fighting and moving forward.

"If this is the case that keeps this from happening again in the future, then if I need to be the sacrificial lamb for that, then that's what I am," said the former officer.

News 9 called the city for a comment and the Norman City Attorney said there is a settlement conference taking place next week and they hope they can get this resolved, but they have no further comments.