Portland Police Officer Tom Brennan
today says he plans to file a $270,000 federal lawsuit against the city for banishing him to the property room after he complained about the behavior of a sergeant involved in the death of James Chasse Jr
As first reported
in The Oregonian
, Brennan was working night shift at Central Precinct last year when he says Sgt. Kyle Nice
escalated a contact with two transients. Brennan wrote a letter to WW
, The Oregonian
, then-Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman
and City Commissioner Randy Leonard
saying he was concerned about Nice being on the street.
Then-Central Precinct Commander Mike Reese
, who last week became police chief, claimed in an email that the "incident was thoroughly investigated." The result of Brennan's complaint: Brennan was pulled off the street and assigned to the bureau's property room.
Nice remained on patrol until he was put under investigation for a road-rage incident
last month in Washington County. Then Brennan wrote a letter to Leonard, saying the incident could have been avoided and asking if he would get an assignment from then-Chief Rosie Sizer
and an assignment back to the street.
Leonard wrote back to Brennan on April 13:
I am hoping a change comes to the management of the police bureau sooner rather than later. When that happens, it is at the top of my list to let the chief know that I consider your transfer an abuse of management rights and that any words about setting a new tone need to be followed by deeds...starting with you getting back out onto the street.
That came to pass last week, when Mayor Sam Adams
took the police bureau from Saltzman and fired Sizer. Now Reese is the new chief. But Brennan says a full investigation still hasn't been done.
Brennan has had run-ins with bureau management before, as detailed
in a WW
story last year about a sexual-harassment complaint against one of Brennan's former superiors brought by Brennan's wife, Leilani Brennan. Brennan claims that investigation, too, was buried by the bureau.
The suit, to be filed by Portland lawyer Kevin Keaney, seeks $250,000 for employment discrimination, $20,000 for lost wages and a court order for the bureau to cease alleged retaliatory acts against Brennan.