Friday, March 19, 2010

MO: City settles suit with cop fired for criticizing quota system

Police bosses normally deny that they have a quota system so it is good that someone blew the whistle on one -- and even better that he was vindicated. The city would have settled because they knew how bad the publicity of a trial would have been for them

The city will pay $100,000 to a former police officer who claimed he was fired because he criticized a police ticket-quota system. The out-of-court settlement with Randall Messina was approved 6-1 by the City Council following a more than two-hour, closed-door session Monday, said Mayor Dick Stratman. Council member Connie Groff voted against it, he said.

Messina sued Washington in federal court in April 2008, saying his free speech rights were violated. In his complaint, Messina alleged Stratman, Police Chief Ken Hahn, and Capt. Kevin Menefee communicated between August and November 2007 about a police ticket-quota system to counter falling city revenue.

At a Nov. 1, 2007, police staff meeting, Hahn outlined new "performance standards" for officers that required a "quota of arrests, written reports, tickets issued, warnings issued and self-initiated activities," the suit claimed.

City officials have maintained Messina was fired for insubordination. On Tuesday, Stratman said he was restricted from commenting on the settlement. The City Council voted to fire Messina in February 2008, after he criticized the alleged quota system on television. He was hired as a patrolman in August 2005.

Original report here

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