Ex-Phoenix cop Tim Baiardi is fighting the city over his recent firing.
Though Baiardi admitted in court this summer that he committed a crime by slapping a handcuffed shoplifter in the face, he still thinks the Phoenix Police Department ought to hire him back.
On Thursday, ABC15 broke the news that the ex-officer had requested a hearing with Phoenix's civil service board to appeal his firing. The hearing was subsequently held behind closed, locked doors. The board will hear testimony from others in his case, and it will be a few weeks before the board makes a decision on whether to reinstate him.
He had been with the Phoenix Police Department since 2001, and was also a board member for the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. He had previously been suspended in 2005 for striking another handcuffed suspect.
Last December, Baiardi was working an off-duty security detail at a Walmart on 51st Avenue and Indian School Road when he arrested a man on suspicion of shoplifting. Baiardi handcuffed the man and took him into the store's loss-prevention office. While the man was sitting on a bench, handcuffed with his arms behind his back, Baiardi slapped him in the face.
Booking paperwork from the shoplifting suspect's arrest states that Baiardi delivered "2-3" knee strikes and "4-5 closed fist strikes" to the man in addition to the slap that was captured on video by a security camera in the Walmart office.
After supervisors learned of the incident, Baiardi was placed on leave and the department began a criminal investigation into his actions, eventually recommending charges be brought against the officer.
In May, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged Baiardi with aggravated assault. An indictment against him states that Baiardi "slapped [the man] across the left side of his face with considerable force," and that Baiardi "denied striking [the man] when questioned by two supervisors and provided no justification for the strike."
Despite his denial, Baiardi took a plea deal in July that allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct. As part of the agreement, Baiardi will be placed on unsupervised probation, will pay restitution to the victim, and will have his criminal conviction reported to the Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training Board.
Because Baiardi was able to get the assault charge pleaded down to a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, his peace officer certification wasn't immediately revoked by the AZPOST board. But the board will still be reviewing his case and may revoke his certification, preventing Baiardi from again becoming a police officer in the state of Arizona.
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In August, Baiardi was fired. And the department, still under pressure for its high rate of shootings and disturbing actions by some of its officers, wanted the public to know who was making that decision. As a spokesperson said at the time, "Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams has terminated Officer Tim Baiardi’s employment with the Phoenix Police Department."
Baiardi was also one of dozens of Phoenix police officers whose Facebook posts were included in a database created by the Plain View Project in an effort to catalog bigotry and racism among police officers nationwide.
Though this post was not included in the database, a Phoenix New Times review of Baiardi's Facebook (which has since been deactivated), showed that Baiardi posted a meme of former United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis captioned: "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."