Lawsuit against Red Bank amended

Lawsuit against Red Bank amended

August 10th, 2010 by Chris Carroll in Politics Local

A $1.5 million lawsuit against Red Bank has been amended after inconsistencies were found in its first version.

Filed on behalf of Red Bank police Officer Bradley Hanon, the lawsuit first said that police department policy was violated in the case of a car accident involving a Red Bank police lieutenant. The new lawsuit abandons that line of attack and now argues that department policy "contradicts or otherwise confuses" the issue of when Red Bank officers should take post-accident drug tests.

Attorney Robin Flores, who's representing Hanon, changed the wording of the lawsuit after the Chattanooga Times Free Press alerted him to an inconsistency. During that conversation, Flores declined to say whether he read the police policy manual before drafting the lawsuit. An hour later, Flores phoned the Times Free Press to say he had amended the lawsuit.

On Thursday, Hanon filed a lawsuit, claiming the city and several officials retaliated against him after he exposed alleged misconduct.

According to Hanon's lawsuit and police records, a Red Bank police lieutenant crashed his car within city limits on June 8. An accident report shows Red Bank handled the investigation and never made the lieutenant take a drug test, two facts the original 14-page lawsuit characterized as "police misconduct."

The lawsuit maintained that Red Bank handled the investigation incorrectly, saying its policy handbook mandated an outside investigation and a drug test for all accidents involving city employees.

But a look into Red Bank's employee policy handbook reveals no such thing. Drug tests are required only in cases of "significant property, environmental damage or significant personal injury" and only when a collision "results in a fatality or injury requiring immediate hospitalization of any party" should an outside police department investigate.

"Both parties advised that (they) never felt the other hit each other," the June 8 accident report states. "No injuries were reported."

When pressed about the discrepancy, Flores said all the information came from his client.

"That's the client's position and that's what he's sticking with," Flores said. "I don't waste my time with cases that are just crap."

The newly amended lawsuit accuses the police department of requiring Hanon and another officer to take drug tests after two "minor accidents" that were investigated by outside agencies.

The lawsuit does not offer dates for those accidents, and Red Bank officials were unable to provide property damage reports Monday afternoon.

Hanon said that, in his seven years working the Red Bank police beat, officers got drug tests but those in leadership positions did not.

"It's a double standard," Hanon said. "You don't want an agency investigating their own accidents. You have to stay unbiased for the public."

According to the lawsuit, Hanon's supervisors plotted against him for notifying Red Bank commissioners about the issue.

Hanon filed his lawsuit one month after ex-Red Bank police chief Larry Sneed sued the city for $1.5 million, claiming a political conspiracy motivated his sudden dismissal.

Red Bank City Attorney Arnold Stulce did not return calls seeking comment Monday afternoon.