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Published: Sunday, 10/12/2008

Irony shadows ex-officer released from jail


CHICAGO A former Chicago policeman went for his first motorcycle ride since being released from an Iowa prison, only to be pulled over by officers who wanted to congratulate him.

Michael Mette, 31, related the tale Sunday at a welcome-home party at the Chicago police union hall; he says he hopes to rejoin the force shortly. He was released from prison Wednesday after a court ordered his acquittal.

He was sentenced to five years in an Iowa prison after being convicted of assault stemming from an October, 2005, fight in which Mr. Mette punched a man, who suffered a broken nose, cheek, and jaw.

The Iowa Court of Appeals found that a district judge erred when she ruled that Mette could have retreated from the altercation. The appeals court ordered his acquittal after he had served about a year of the sentence. Mr. Mette maintained throughout the case that he hit the man in self-defense.

Bill Dougherty, vice president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7, said that Mr. Mette may have to do some retraining at the police academy but that nothing else should keep him from stepping back into the role of an officer.

He has been spending his time since the release getting reacquainted with the real world. He went for a motorcycle ride Friday but was pulled over by police who wanted to congratulate him, he said.

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