Police Sergeant Sues District Over Traffic-Camera Whistleblowing
The District is set to expand its lucrative traffic camera program with new cameras to catch drivers. But in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, one Metropolitan Police Department officer says his attempts to fix the cameras resulted in retaliation so serious that he eventually lost his home.
Sgt. Mark Robinson's woes began in 2010, according to his lawsuit, when he told the department that his supervisor in MPD's automated traffic enforcement unit was misappropriating money. That earned him a series of punishments from his supervisor, according to the lawsuit.
But Robinson's problems escalated in July 2012, according to his lawsuit, when he told D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about problems with traffic cameras. Contacting Mendelson and appearing in media reports led to more whistleblowing retaliation, Robinson says. In October, he says, he was told that he could no longer be paid for overtime work.
"He thinks that the city can still make a lot of money off of it when it's done properly, instead of screwing over D.C. residents," says Jennifer L. Bezdicek, his attorney. Robinson lost his house because of the lack of overtime pay, according to Bezdicek.
Robinson, who's been detailed out of the unit in charge of traffic cameras, is suing the city for $750,000 for violations of civil rights and whistleblower protections. A spokesman for the District's Office of the Attorney General, which handles lawsuits filed against the city, declined to comment.
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