A former horse handler for the Philadelphia Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit who accused the city and his commander of retaliating against him for voicing his concerns about the lack of exercise some horses were getting has won a whistleblower lawsuit.
Joel Allen, whose father was a mounted police officer in the 70s and 80s, filed a formal complaint against his commanding officer in 2014 out of a concern for the horses in his care.
According to The (Philadelphia) Inquirer, Mr. Allen became a hostler for the Philadelphia Police Department’s Mounted Patrol unit in 1986. The civilian job involves cleaning, feeding, and caring for the police department’s horses. The unit was downsized in 1996 and disbanded in 2004, causing Mr. Allen to be transferred. He returned to the unit, however, in 2013, after it was re-formed.
But after the mounted unit was rebuilt, it had more horses than officers to ride them. Because of the disparity, some horses did not get enough exercise. Some horses got exercise a maximum of two hours a day and others none at all, leading some of the animals to become depressed and/or aggressive.
Mr. Allen took his concerns to his supervisors before filing a formal complaint with his commanding officer Lt Daniel McCann in Dec. 2014, telling The Inquirer that “it was a whole year of hell in there for me.”
According to The Inquirer, “McCann accused Allen of threatening other employees, making false allegations, and vandalizing the stables, among other things,” in official paperwork he filed with the department. “He also called Allen’s mental health into question twice” and requested that Mr. Allen be subjected to mental health evaluations.
Lt. McCann also wrote to then-Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, describing Mr. Allen as an unhinged and angry man and compared him to various murderers who took out their frustrations on others with gun violence.
Mr. Allen filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Lt. McCann and the city not long after he was fired.
On April 7, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Michael E. Erdos ruled in favor of Mr. Allen after a five-day bench trial. Monetary damages will be determined in a later hearing.
Source: The Inquirer