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Judge grants city motion to dismiss police officer suit

A federal judge has granted a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by city defendants who were sued by city Patrolman Dustin Reeder.

U.S. Middle District Court Judge Matthew Brann granted the motion to dismiss filed by City Council, Mayor Derek Slaughter, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 29, police Chief Damon R. Hagan and police Lt. Fred Miller IV, who were accused of allegedly, individually and collectively engaging in “blatant” and “malicious” retaliation.

Reeder filed the three-count complaint against them alleging his First Amendment rights were violated and the FOP lodge violated its duty to fair representation.

Reeder claimed he became a target due to his association with the former police administration of Chief David J. Young and captains Jody Miller and Don Mayes, who were ordered by former Mayor Gabriel J. Campana to stop fraud, waste and dysfunctional behavior in the department.

During the time relevant to the claim, Reeder had a “coveted special assignment.” Several years prior to the events in question, Reeder became a “whistleblower” and reported on officers who maintained membership in the lodge.

That is when Reeder found himself the subject of an onslaught of sexual harassment complaints for “blowing the whistle” on intimate activities involving lodge members and their spouses, the complaint said.

Reeder alleged that he was responsible for writing up and initiating internal investigation on a controversial high-ranking union official, further distancing himself with the lodge membership.

Reeder’s alleged speech was made pursuant to his duties as an employee and is not protected speech, Brann wrote.

Reeder, formerly a city police sergeant, was reduced in rank to patrolman following a disciplinary hearing with council and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 29. Reeder was suspended without pay for 30 days following the decision made after a disciplinary hearing that was closed to the public due to personnel reasons. The union legal adviser had requested the hearing not be open to the public.

Reeder has 21 days in which to file any amendment to the complaint. If none is filed, the complaint will be dismissed pursuant to federal procedure.

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