May 18th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

Cop to File Federal Suit Against City (after Randy Leonard Vows to Help)

Tom and Leilani Brennan

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.
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