Police officer challenges disciplinary action

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Troy Police officer facing termination says he is the victim of retaliatory action for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Lt. Edward O. Hardy and his attorney, Julian McPhillips, participated in a hearing with Troy Police Chief Jimmy Ennis and the city’s legal counsel on Wednesday morning. As a result of that meeting, McPhillips said Hardy remains on administrative leave with pay pending resolution of the issue.

“This is just a huge retaliatory incident by the police chief of Troy and we call upon the mayor here to do something to get involved,” McPhillips said. “It is unjust, it is a travesty, and I say the Troy police chief should be ashamed of himself.”

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City attorneys had no comment after the hearing, and Ennis could not be reached. Troy Mayor Jason Reeves declined comment, saying “This is a pending personnel matter and it would be improper for me to discuss it at this time.”

Hardy, who has been an officer for 19 years, was placed on leave Dec.12, 2012, pending an internal investigation into an incident that took place Dec. 8, 2012. He was notified earlier this month that he would be terminated. According to paperwork provided by McPhillips, that incident involved the supervision of a juvenile arrested while Hardy was in charge of the shift. McPhillips said Hardy was placed on leave because an officer on his shift left a juvenile unattended in a room inside the Criminal Investigation Division for about eight hours.

The juvenile’s mother, stepfather and grandmother were all present at the hearing Wednesday and according to McPhillips relayed that they do not blame Hardy for the mistake since he wasn’t the arresting officer.

McPhillips said he believes the disciplinary action was prompted by Hardy’s EEOC complaint, which was filed in September 2012. At that time, Hardy cited what he said was racial discrimination in the promotion process. In his complaint, Hardy, who is African-American, said he was passed over twice for a promotion to captain – once in 2010 and again in 2012 – while white men were promoted both times.

“He has got a legitimate grievance,” McPhillips said after Wednesday’s hearing “There has never been a black captain at the police department.”

McPhillips said the EEOC has six months to investigate charges. If Hardy receives a right to sue letter in March, McPhillips said he plans to file a lawsuit if the matter has not been resolved. “They are trying to hit him with a sledgehammer for nothing,” McPhillips said.