TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WISH) - A Danville police officer pleaded guilty to domestic battery on Wednesday, and I-Team 8 has uncovered more about the officer.
The guilty plea by Officer Chris Gill means he can no longer carry a gun or be a police officer. Gill has been under fire for arrests he has made and one of his DUI arrests is the target of a special prosecutor.
But the guilty plea comes after he was arrested in 2010 for beating his now ex-wife. Gill has spent the last week in jail after being arrested by U.S. Marshals at Indianapolis International Airport. He violated his probation by not returning his duty weapon at the end of his shift.
Gill was free after a plea deal dropped domestic battery charges from felony to misdemeanor. He's accused of beating his then wife Teresa Gill in front of their young son. A video obtained by I-Team 8 shows an incident in the car in front of his then 2-year-old son. His ex-wife says the video shows the types of moments she endured on a regular basis while married to the officer. Gill reacts violently when he realizes Teresa is recording the entire incident on video.
Teresa confronted Gill in court, reading this statement: "The impact of being married to Chris Gill has been nothing but abuse physically, mentally and emotionally. Especially when at times I thought I was dead.”
Gill was released from jail for time served. He will have to serve 349 days on probation, must have no contact with victim and must go through anger management counseling. Gill must also pay her hospital bills, relinquish his Fourth Amendment rights — which means he can be searched at any time with no search warrant — and he can't carry a gun.
Prosecutors said Wednesday’s guilty plea for domestic battery show that even police officers can be punished under the law.
"Most importantly we hope to have a change in behavior. That's why we wanted anger management counseling, at least an evaluation and that he abide by any recommendations for counseling,” Vigo County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts said. “Second, that he never legally possess a firearm or ammunition ever again under federal law. And third, frankly he never carry a badge again. And with this type of conviction he should never be able to."
Gill is also under fire from Danville Police. He's accused of abusing his power in a DUI arrest after a man says Gill arrested him for driving under the influence, even though his blood alcohol content was below the legal limit. I-Team 8 has found that questionable drunken driving arrest may not be the first, after obtaining an audio recording when Gill was an officer in Paris, Ill. He arrested Larry Baty, accusing him of drunk driving. It's what he is caught saying in the arrestee processing area that became an issue.
On the recording, Gill says, "How many times do I have to put up with that (expletive) burping and (expletive) before I can just count it as refusal?" Baty's recent gastric bypass surgery caused constant burping, which made the test inadmissible. Officer Gill then asked on the recording, "Is two times enough to count as a refusal?" Baty is heard on the same recording saying repeatedly, "I'm not refusing. I'm not refusing at all." Gill wrote Baty refused the test and arrested him for drunken driving. Once the audio came to light, the charges were dropped. Gill later resigned to go to Danville.
Gill was suspended without pay because of the domestic battery charges. His father, Keith Gill, was the Danville police chief until being fired a few weeks ago. Town officials won't comment on the reason for the firing. The Gill officers have put a dent in the morale of the Danville Police Department.
Interim Danville Police Chief Bill Wright released this statement to I-Team 8:
"The department is going to take this opportunity to heal its wounds, move forward and work on developing a stronger relationship with the community. We are putting this chapter behind us. The remaining officers on the department are dedicated, well-trained professionals who care about the community. We look forward to doing our job and getting the respect and trust of the citizens we serve."
I-Team 8 has made repeated requests to speak with Chris Gill. He has not responded.
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