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  • Possible lawsuit/DOJ investigation

    A couple of years ago I went through the academy at a very large department that is currently under investigation by the federal government for grossly violating employee civil rights. During orientation we had to sign a contract that said if we decided to quit after graduation, but before 3 years, we had to pay them back something like $335,000.00 for our training. Because of the events going on at the department that went unchecked, I didn't feel I could continue working there. I didn't want to be there and it really put a bad taste in my mouth for law enforcement in general...it would have been dangerous to continue on with that attitude so early in my career, my heart and head were no longer in the game, I also left in time to keep from owing almost half a million dollars.

    I have had time to cool off and have a strong desire to go back to law enforcement (not the same department). However, I have recently been asked to give a deposition(I thinks that's what she called it) to the DOJ regarding my experience there and I only have a few months left to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
    Problem is, most departments require you to not be involved in a lawsuit when applying...and this department is notorious for fighting any suits for years...like up to 10...which is why I let it go before...It wasn't worth the time and stress involved...and you never know if you will win. However, with their current DOJ problem...I now feel I will be taken more seriously...before, I felt the police dept would be given the benefit of the doubt and I would be seen as a disgruntled employee looking for a paycheck...and frankly...some of the stuff I didn't think anyone would believe, I couldn't even believe it at the time.
    Questions: (I plan on asking the prospective dept these Q's too, but I'm curious to see other views as well)
    1. How would it look to another department if you have filed a legitimate civil rights violation against a previous department?
    2. Would a lawsuit even count if it's not against you?
    3. Does it look bad that I waited to the last minute to do anything about it? (I actually thought my all rights expired after 1 year...most have except one).

    Sorry for the long post...thanks if you read it all!
    Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.

    Luck often enough will save a man if his courage holds.

  • #2
    You need the advice of a good atty--not us mopes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Merely being involved in litigation is not a DQ with most agencies. Giving a Deposition in a case is not grounds for DQ. Obviously, I can't comment on the merits of the DOJ action, or any other action relative to your former agency. If it's your desire to re-enter Law Enforcement, then I suggest you apply to any agency which interests you. The issues you mentioned will come up at some point in the hiring process. They will be evaluated in the light of a given Department's standards and policies. You might wish to speak to a Recruiter to see how your situation might be viewed, but I don't feel it will be a bar to your applying.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the reply, and I already have legal advise.

        Phillipcal-Thanks for the opinion-I'm just dreading the one from the dept/s I want to apply to. I don't have the best of luck, so I am expecting the issue to disqualify me if I file suit. Having to bring up the issue at all bites...I left the other dept on good standing and gave plenty of notice etc...but it still looks bad...how bad...I guess I will be finding out.
        Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.

        Luck often enough will save a man if his courage holds.

        Comment


        • #5
          First, do not misunderstand the purpose of my response. I am not giving you a hard time. However, what you posted seems a little cryptic and confusing. Were your BI package handed to me, I would have a few questions about the logic behind why you were suing your department. My purpose would be to determine whether you filed a legitimate suit or are someone trying to scam the system.

          I say this because your post is not very clear. Here is what is implied from the limited information you posted. Please correct me if I am wrong,

          1. You resigned because you didn't want to repay the department if you resigned after completing the academy.

          2. Your resignation was based on a belief there was misconduct within the department that you might be exposed to once you graduated from the academy and went into general operations.

          3. You further feared that this misconduct would create a hostile working environment that would make working there intolerable, causing you to resign and have to repay the department.

          4.However, you never graduated from the academy, you were never went into general operations, you were never exposed to this misconduct, so you could never determine first hand whether the misconduct was rumor or fact.

          If you were never put into a hostile working environment, never experienced this misconduct and thus, never subjected to intolerable working conditions, how, for the purpose of your lawsuit, were your civil rights violated? In short, you quit before you could be harmed
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

          Comment


          • #6
            answers:
            1. Yes and no. I knew this was not a place I wanted to stay...at all. I would have left even if I didn't have to pay anything for training, but I didn't want to owe that kind of money at the same time. I had to make up my mind on their timetable...not mine.
            2. I was already exposed to discrimination...daily...I was a witness to others and a victim myself. I had several felonies committed against me and saw several felonies committed against other dept members and citizens. This was not set up for training purposes, not mind games, not "hazing", these were felonies with no rhyme or reason or excuse...the problem was ignored and even covered up. I was strongly pressured to not file criminal charges at one point. I was told that it would be handled internally. I thought firings were in order...not a slap on the wrist like being banned from a specialized unit, demotion, x days like they got. This was for felonies...please! However, I did not push the issue as I feared for my safety.
            3. It was already a hostile working environment.
            4. Most civil rights were violated at the academy...several academy instructors were disciplined, one SGT back to patrol...etc....only this discipline didn't take place until after I quit. I rode 1 weekend shift with an FTO 10-15 times...it was part of training...so I was exposed to operations. I never had anything happen to me on patrol and most of the FTO's were top notch. However, the FTO I was assigned to upon graduation...not so much...and I will leave it at that.
            I have no sympathy for criminals but I saw something done to one once that was so bad that I think about it everyday...and I mean not a day goes by that I don't. I saw this on dashcam video...not in person. It was being show around the dept as something funny but with the attitude of "Hey don't get caught doing this"...not as "Hey, this is horrid, we are arresting the cop and firing his a**". The criminal involved was slow...so I don't think he thought he could do anything about it. I turned it in to an outside agency as an anonymous tip...I don't think anything was done...I never saw it on the news or in the papers...and it would have been there.
            No rumors needed, I saw plenty first hand.
            Last edited by sassy070599; 11-03-2009, 01:59 AM. Reason: add on
            Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.

            Luck often enough will save a man if his courage holds.

            Comment


            • #7
              Your reply to L-1's query leaves me with more questions than answers. While I respect your right not to go into too much detail, your replies are very vague, and really make it difficult to give you any meaningful advice. Needless to say, in any depositions or pre-trial motions or discovery, your allegations will have to be much more specific. In light of what you've posted since my original reply to you, I'd handle your Background Package in much the same manner as my colleague has suggested. It's entirely possible that any agency to which you apply will have serious reservations concerning you.These reservations could remain even after any litigation is settled or resolved.

              Comment


              • #8
                In my opinion, your lawsuit, your history and everything else on your plate should not play a role in any hiring decision. However, we dont live in a perfect world and alot of depts do what they want to do come hiring time. You or anyone else would be naive to think that behind closed doors, the hiring dept would not take into account the lawsuit, its history and everything else surrounding it etc etc...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Your comments are very vague and I can't figure out exactly what your injury was/is. If you suffered monetary loss, physical abuse, breach of contract or whatever, then I could see you trying to seek a judgement. Whatever the case, you need to decide if this suit is worth it to you in the long run.

                  My question for you is, what do you hope to gain from this law suit?
                  sigpic

                  " 'Blessed are the Peacemakers', is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this one they are frequently cursed." - Benjamin Franklin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Again, there seems to be a credibility issue with what you have posted so far and as a BI I would have serious questions.

                    Your first statement implied that if you graduates from the academy and resigned, you would have to pay the department money, so you resigned before graduation to avoid having to do so. However, in your later post you indicate that you did graduate and work and therefore would be liable. Which is it?

                    I'm not sure what happened, but your story here has changed. To most cops this (and especially a BI) this suggests that either you are either a fraud who doesn't don't know how to keep their story straight, or that you may really have suffered a legitimate harm, but simply do not know how to coherently articulate what happened in an understandable manner.

                    Someone who is a fraud will definitely not pass the background. However an honest person who is inarticulate will have an equally hard time passing the background, because even though they mean well, their inability to accurately express themselves the first time makes them look like they are lying. There are no do overs in court. When the defense establishes that what you put in your report or testified to on the stand is not accurate, a jury won't believe you when you get up there and say, "Well, yes, I know I said ABC, but I really meant XYZ." You have to get it straight the first time if your are going to be seen as credible.

                    I think you may have a problem here.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We can't give you advice if you don't give us more than vague details, period. Consult multiple attorney's, one's you can trust.
                      In Memory of A Fallen Hero

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                        Your reply to L-1's query leaves me with more questions than answers. While I respect your right not to go into too much detail, your replies are very vague, and really make it difficult to give you any meaningful advice. Needless to say, in any depositions or pre-trial motions or discovery, your allegations will have to be much more specific. In light of what you've posted since my original reply to you, I'd handle your Background Package in much the same manner as my colleague has suggested. It's entirely possible that any agency to which you apply will have serious reservations concerning you.These reservations could remain even after any litigation is settled or resolved.
                        I can't go into more detail or describe injuries in detail for obvious reasons. All I can say is that this PD is currently under investigation for civil rights violations towards other employees and not because of a lone allegation made by me. I am not trying to jump on the band wagon and making stuff up to get a paycheck. I think this department needs to be cleaned up and should not get away with the things they have done, justice is payment enough. If my statements help in a DOJ investigation, I would like to do that. I have been advised to protect my rights...in order to do that, I would have to file a suit by a certain time and attorney's don't work for free...I suspect if I hire one, they will want to seek monetary damages against the PD.

                        I'm not asking anyone to believe me, or to decide if I have a legitimate case. I was asking in general, if someone has a legitimate case and they pursue it...will it cause them problems in the hiring process.
                        Your answer is yes, regardless of the circumstances. I can accept that, thank you.
                        Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.

                        Luck often enough will save a man if his courage holds.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sassy070599 View Post
                          I'm not asking anyone to believe me, or to decide if I have a legitimate case. I was asking in general, if someone has a legitimate case and they pursue it...will it cause them problems in the hiring process.
                          Yes, having a legitimate lawsuit is not grounds for DQ.

                          However, you will be asked about it during the background and if you are unable to provide a more coherent explanation than you have here, you may get written off as a scammer or someone who is unable to communicate the facts accurately. You will have to make you case to your BI. You will not be able to hide behind your lawyer or the old line of, "I can't talk about it because litigation is pending."

                          Best of luck.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=L-1;2009831]Again, there seems to be a credibility issue with what you have posted so far and as a BI I would have serious questions.
                            I am sure you have plenty of detailed questions. However, I won't be going into any more detail than I already have. I will only do this for a PD I actually apply for.

                            Your first statement implied that if you graduates from the academy and resigned, you would have to pay the department money, so you resigned before graduation to avoid having to do so. However, in your later post you indicate that you did graduate and work and therefore would be liable. Which is it?
                            I never said I graduated, I said I rode several shifts with FTO's, our academy had you do that...while still in the academy. I handcuffed people(didn't "arrest" as I was not commissioned), I searched people and cars, I conducted interviews, did building searches, wrote tickets and GOS's(The Officer signed them), got fingerprints, guarded crime scenes etc etc etc. If you graduate, you would be assigned to ride with an FTO for some time...on a full time, commissioned basis.

                            I'm not sure what happened, but your story here has changed. To most cops this (and especially a BI) this suggests that either you are either a fraud who doesn't don't know how to keep their story straight, or that you may really have suffered a legitimate harm, but simply do not know how to coherently articulate what happened in an understandable manner.

                            My story didn't change, I obliged to the request for additional information...just not as much as you wanted. I mentioned that several officers were disciplined because of things they had done to me and others as evidence my complaints are legitimate, without having to go into details of the incidents themselves. I could give details on smaller matters that were still violations...but then someone would say "Is that all? Don't you have anything worse than that to complain about?", I could also make all details up, but I will refrain from both. The decision to not articulate details was deliberate. I have no problems with articulation. I think your decision to assume or make up the missing details that were not given to you is the problem. I was not asking for someone to tell me they think my situation is legit, I asked IF something was legit, would it still be viewed badly.

                            Someone who is a fraud will definitely not pass the background. However an honest person who is inarticulate will have an equally hard time passing the background, because even though they mean well, their inability to accurately express themselves the first time makes them look like they are lying. There are no do overs in court. When the defense establishes that what you put in your report or testified to on the stand is not accurate, a jury won't believe you when you get up there and say, "Well, yes, I know I said ABC, but I really meant XYZ." You have to get it straight the first time if your are going to be seen as credible.

                            I have been through backgrounds and oral boards and scored extremely well, so I think I will be just fine. I handled my own divorce, pro se. I didn't have the money for a divorce kit, so I went to the law library, researched and created or photocopied all my documents, filled them out and filed it all with the courts. After the hearing, the judge called me back to her chambers(that freaked me out, I thought I was in trouble) but it was only to inform me I had done a better job than most attorneys and that she was very impressed. She strongly encouraged me to go to law school. I have never had a problem getting details or a point across....when I want or need to. No worries.
                            Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance.

                            Luck often enough will save a man if his courage holds.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Best of luck.
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                              Comment

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