By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona police sergeant who posted a photo on his Facebook account showing youths with guns posing with an apparently bullet-ridden t-shirt with a picture of President Obama on it has been demoted, authorities said on Tuesday.
Patrick Shearer, a 25-year-veteran of the Peoria, Arizona, police department, will be dropped in rank to officer and receive a two-week unpaid suspension for the incident that sparked a U.S. Secret Service investigation, Police Chief Roy Minter said.
"We expect our employees to exercise sound judgment and not bring discredit upon our police department," Minter said in a written statement.
Shearer has 10 days to appeal the decision. He could not be reached for comment.
A Secret Service spokesman said on Tuesday that the agency is not pursuing any action against Shearer stemming from the Facebook photo.
"The matter is closed from our perspective," said Ed Donovan, a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman. He said no charges will be filed.
Shearer came under fire late last month when the Secret Service confirmed it was following up on the photo of seven youths, posing in the desert, with four toting guns. The photo was quickly removed after it became public.
Shearer told a local television he took the picture and did not consider it "that big of a deal." He called it a "political statement," adding he would give his life for the president.
"It's not like they (the youths) were going to go out and shoot the president," he said.
Shearer was taken off the streets and assigned to administrative duties pending the results of the department's internal investigation.
Details of the probe were not released because the appeals process has not been concluded, police officials said.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)