Scottsdale police commander sues city over ‘retaliatory’ firing
PHOENIX – A Scottsdale police commander who says he was fired for blowing the whistle on another officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the department.
Aaron Minor said in court documents filed Tuesday he reported homophobic comments made by Assistant Chief Richard Slavin at a meeting in May to a supervisor.
Police Chief Alan Rodbell and the director of the city’s human resources department were named in the lawsuit.
Others who attended the meeting also complained about the remarks, which included Slavin saying a supervisor at a different training meeting was French so he was “probably gay” and later asking a lieutenant at the Scottsdale meeting, “Are you gay?”
The remarks would violate the city’s anti-discrimination and nonharassment policy. The investigation acknowledged, according to the court papers, that the comments did break rules.
But by early October, Minor was told he was being investigated internally, placed on administrative leave and was not allowed to appeal.
“Part of the police officer’s bill of rights is that you get a hearing to determine what the heck is going on and that didn’t happen here (according to the suit),” KTAR News 92.3 FM’s legal analyst Monica Lindstrom told Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.
The lawsuit claimed Minor’s right to due process was violated by retaliatory measures.
The documents alleged he was fired Monday, but ABC15 reported Minor remained on paid leave.
The internal affairs investigation focused on Minor’s actions during the inquiry of Slavin’s remarks, citing that Minor didn’t respond with integrity during the policy violation probe.
“We have … whistleblower laws so that somebody is protected to come out and say when government is doing something wrong,” Lindstrom said, adding the department had time to file a response to the complaint.
Police spokesman Sgt. Ben Hoster said in an email, “Due to pending litigation, we are unable to provide comment” on the lawsuit.