LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Guns N' Roses guitarist said a former Las Vegas police captain who helped him use the department's helicopter for an elaborate wedding proposal did nothing wrong and he's glad he won his job back.
Daren Jay "DJ" Ashba hailed Friday's decision by a Nevada state board ordering the Las Vegas police department to reinstate David O'Leary to his job.
"When you know you're innocent for almost two years, it couldn't be a better day," Ashba told KLAS-TV of Las Vegas (http://bit.ly/1e9nFJI ). "He loses his job because he did something out of the kindness of his heart. He did nothing wrong. We did nothing wrong."
O'Leary had been criticized for helping arrange a police helicopter ride for his friend so the rocker could propose to then-girlfriend Nathalia Henao in 2013.
Ashba said he asked O'Leary where he could find a private helicopter to use for his wedding proposal and was instead offered a ride in the police helicopter.
The board's ruling said O'Leary had asked a fellow officer for advice, on behalf of Ashba, for booking a private helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon and was told none were available. Instead, O'Leary was told the department could offer a fly-along in the helicopter, according to the ruling, which also said the participants signed the department's necessary paperwork to take the ride.
A picture of the couple posted on Instagram about a free ride on the police helicopter stirred controversy.
"I felt horrible because it's supposed to be an amazing moment for us and somebody lost a job ... They made it seem like we, you know, jumped a fence at midnight and stole a helicopter," Ashba said.
The police department has said it plans to appeal the ruling by the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board.
O'Leary declined comment. But his attorney, Adam Levine, praised the decision.
"I hope that their threats to appeal were just a statement made in the spur of the moment and that they will welcome him back," Levine said.
The state board also said the department's decision to demote O'Leary was politically motivated because of the negative attention the helicopter ride attracted at the same time the department was trying to lobby for a sales-tax increase to pay for additional officers.
O'Leary had been with the department for nearly 25 years and led its financial crimes division.
Information from: KLAS-TV, http://www.klas-tv.com