A former Flint, Mich., police officer has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the City of Flint and police Chief Tim Johnson, alleging he was demoted and forced out of a job in retaliation for corroborating another police officer’s claims of mistreatment and gender discrimination.
Rodney Williams, the former internal affairs investigator for the Flint Police Department, filed the lawsuit Nov. 9 in Genesee County Circuit Court. His lawsuit stems from an investigation of claims made in a complaint filed by Flint police officer Capt. Leigh Golden.
According to MLive, “Golden filed a lawsuit last month after she was reassigned, claiming she was discriminated against because she is a woman, transferred out of her patrol position, verbally abused and retaliated against when she reported illegal activity” within the department.
Mr. Williams, a 29-year veteran of the department who spent his last 18 years as a sergeant, claims he was asked to meet with a city attorney to provide a statement about Golden’s claims of discrimination and retaliation. Mr. Williams disclosed that he thought the police department had violated a Michigan law, rule, or regulation in its handling of Capt. Golden and recommended the discipline and discharge of police involved in the matter when appropriate, MLive reported.
A week after he provided the city attorney with information supporting Capt. Golden’s case, Mr. Williams was transferred from Internal Affairs and F.B.I. Task Force to night patrol – a position he hadn’t held in two decades of service. Mr. Williams claimed this demotion put him in an “untenable position” and caused him to fear for the safety of police officers under Chief Johnson’s command.
By retaliating against him for corroborating Capt. Golden’s claims, Mr. Williams alleges the City of Flint and Chief Johnson violated Michigan’s Whistleblower Protection Act.
Mr. Williams chose to resign on Oct. 3, just six months shy of his 30-year career with the Flint Police Department, rather than go back to night patrol.
Chief Johnson told MLive that Mr. Williams’ allegations were “totally not true” and said Mr. Williams was transferred in a “restructuring of the department.”