LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Urban County Council has approved a recommendation to suspend three more Lexington police officers without pay for comments and photos they posted on the popular Web site MySpace.com.

Aaron Noel, Richard Sisk and Paul Stewart, who were administratively charged with conduct unbecoming of an officer, each received an 80-hour suspension without pay and are ordered to undergo sensitivity training.

Lexington police officers already receive sensitivity training, but the officers will undergo enhanced training, Lexington Police Chief Anthany Beatty said. After the officers serve their disciplinary time, they will return to full-duty status.

In June, the council approved the suspensions of officers Adam O’Quinn and Gene Haynes, leaving Joshua Cromer, the officer who arrested country singer John Michael Montgomery on a charge of drunken driving, the only officer charged whose fate with the department remains uncertain.

O’Quinn, who was administratively charged with conduct unbecoming, also received an 80-hour suspension and was ordered to undergo sensitivity training. Haynes was internally charged with conduct unbecoming and interfering in the prosecution of a case. He received a suspension of 80 hours without pay for the first charge and an additional suspension of 240 hours without pay for the second charge. He also must undergo sensitivity training.

Haynes was charged with interfering with a criminal case because of a photo of Montgomery that Haynes posted on Cromer’s Web page.

Cromer arrested the country music star in February for driving under the influence of alcohol. On Cromer’s page, officers discussed the case and congratulated him on such a high-profile arrest. Haynes posted an altered photograph of Montgomery and a fan, in which Cromer’s face had been placed on the body of the fan.

Haynes and Cromer have since written apologies on their MySpace pages.

For Cromer’s discipline to be approved by the council, he must first accept the police department’s discipline recommendation. The discipline can range from a written letter of reprimand to suspension to termination.

If the officer accepts the punishment – as Haynes, O’Quinn, Noel, Sisk and Stewart have done – the recommendation is sent to the Urban County Council for approval.

Rejecting the decision would send the case to the Urban County Council for a hearing. If the council finds the officer’s conduct improper, council members would decide on the punishment.

Beatty declined to say Thursday whether Cromer has accepted his discipline.

The police department began investigating the Web sites on March 20, when another police officer informed a supervisor about the sites. That officer was “very disturbed” by some of the content on the Web pages, Beatty said.

The Web pages included discussions of their jobs, comments on arrests and derogatory language about gays and the mentally disabled.

Some pages said the officers worked for the “snobby people of Lexington” or the “Lexington Fayette Urban Communist Government.”

Many of the pages featured Lexington police badges or photos of the officers in uniform. Beatty said he has spoken with all six officers and all were apologetic about their actions.

“In my discussions we certainly have talked about getting this behind us, moving on and making us an even better agency and enhancing our relationship with the community that we serve,” Beatty said. “And all of the officers are committed to doing just that and are very remorseful for what happened.”


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