CROWN POINT | The Sheriff's Merit Board has reinstated Officer Christopher Salomon, who was long under fire for using pepper spray on jailed inmates.
Salomon's future with the department became the subject of a political tug of war between former Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez and then-candidate John Buncich in the wake of the allegations.
Dominguez sought to have Salomon, who has close ties to Buncich, fired prior to his leaving office in December.
Repeated court-approved continuances, however, carried the case into late March when Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter approved a plea deal through which Salomon pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor.
The prosecutor's office in exchange dismissed three felony counts of battery and four felony counts of criminal recklessness.
Salomon also had faced disciplinary charges by the police Merit Board. A newly minted board on April 21 voted 5-0 to reinstate Salomon after he completes a 15-day suspension next week.
He will return to his post on a six-month probationary status and was ordered to complete certain training requirements.
"They offered us the agreed disciplinary action, and we were happy to take it," said Adam Sedia, Salomon's attorney.
The charges stemmed from Salomon splattering several inmates in a county holding cell with pepper spray, on Nov. 9, 2008.
In pleading guilty, Salomon admits to spraying the chemical into the closed holding cell.
A video surveillance tape shows Salomon bending toward the tank door with an object in his right hand, then leaving, court records state. Inmates reacted within moments.