Lawsuit claims cover-ups, retribution within Athens PD - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Lawsuit claims cover-ups, retribution within Athens PD

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The lawsuit makes many claims, including those of deleting police records. The lawsuit makes many claims, including those of deleting police records.
The city said in a statement that they will 'vigorously defend' the claims made in the officer's suit. The city said in a statement that they will 'vigorously defend' the claims made in the officer's suit.
ATHENS, AL (WAFF) -

A federal lawsuit against the City of Athens includes accusations of scandalous secrets and retribution within the city's police department.

Former officer Jason White claims a police captain covered up a DUI arrest in 2009, and he said he was punished for speaking to the media about it.

The lawsuit makes many claims, including those of "unsavory secrets" – deleting police department records, logs and notices to the state about that apparent DUI arrest. The suit also claims two officers pulled over a US Mail truck to destroy documents related to the arrest.

The mayor, police chief and other officers in the department are named in the suit. White claims in the suit that he gave an anonymous interview to a newspaper reporter about the scandal. He said the then-Chief of Police, Wayne Harper, was not happy about the news coverage and immediately began to find out who gave the interview.

White said when Harper suspected he was the one to do so, he was retaliated against. White claims in the suit he was investigated for allegations that had little merit – purely out of retaliation. In one instance, he claims he was investigating for running the plate of a vehicle for non-law-enforcement purposes, although the allegations were made by his ex-wife.

He said he was ultimately fired last year in retaliation for his protected speech: the interview he did in the newspaper.

In the lawsuit, White also alleges Athens city leaders do not equally investigate allegations of misconduct or evenly enforce policies in the police department.

He claims other officers have been accused of similar or worse offences than what he was investigated for, and were not punished. For instance, he claims officers who were found to have had sex with prostitutes being held in custody went unpunished.

You can read the full contents of White's complaint here (PDF).

White's attorney is demanding a jury trial and asks that White be given his job back. He also wants to be paid back for the time he's been without a job and other associated costs.

Requests for comment from the police department were referred to the mayor, who has not returned phone calls on the matter at this time. Former police chief Wayne Harper said the city attorney advised him not to comment on the case.

An Athens city spokesperson released the following statement Tuesday night:

The City denies the former employee's legal claim as to his termination. The former employee was properly terminated almost two years ago. The City will participate in the litigation process and vigorously defend against this claim.

White's attorney was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

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