Cop fired for `lube wrestling' while on disability gets job back - KMSP-TV

Cop fired for `lube wrestling' while on disability sues to get job back

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A former Chicago cop who was fired for working as a bouncer at a nightclub — and participating in a "lube wrestling" event — while on convalescent-duty is suing his former employer, alleging he was wrongfully dismissed.

Johnathan Maynard alleges the Chicago Police Board was "arbitrary and capricious" when its members recently ruled to fire the 11-year veteran, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Maynard, who also claims supervisors harassed him because he's gay, is suing the city for lost wages, benefits and to get his job back.

In the court filing, Maynard says the board did not act "legally," exceeding its authority by skipping union rules that call for several "progressive" stages of discipline.

Last month the board found Maynard, 34, was a "flagrant abuser" of the department's medical roll, convalescent duty and secondary-employment programs, which have been under increased oversight the past three years.

The board's "decision in this case … is inconsistent and incompatible with treatment of similarly situated employees," the suit states.

A spokesperson for the city's legal department did not return calls seeking comment on Thursday.

The police board, which decides disciplinary cases involving cops, found Maynard worked as a fill-in bouncer for Hydrate Nightclub Chicago and Halsted's Bar and Grill between June 2008 and October 2009.

Additionally, the board found that on Nov. 22, 2007, he participated in "lube wrestling" at Hydrate, which is a gay nightclub at 3458 N. Halsted St.

The security work and wrestling occurred while Maynard was on convalescent-duty status, a violation of department rules, the board said. He also wasn't supposed to work in a liquor establishment, the board found.

Maynard previously said he was put on convalescent duty after injuring his knee while he and another officer were trying to control an unruly drunk. Later, he suffered a head injury falling on ice and hurt his back in a car accident, he said.

Maynard acknowledged the wrestling, but said he completed his therapy on his knee and was cleared to return to work three days later.

Maynard also said he was never paid for security work at the clubs, although he sometimes checked IDs as a favor for management.

But his former boyfriend — the chief operating officer of the clubs — presented records to the board showing Maynard was paid. Maynard responded that the records are bogus and his former boyfriend holds a grudge against him.

Maynard said another key witness — a woman who videotaped the lube wrestling — also has an "ax to grind."

She was a former tenant in his grandmother's apartment building and sued over a rent dispute. She filed the initial complaint against Maynard with the Independent Police Review Authority, he said.

"I have been singled out," Maynard told the Sun-Times earlier this month, adding that he doesn't have a disciplinary record and the department should have dealt with its concerns about him years ago.

But the board, in a unanimous decision, wrote that Maynard "shirked his duty to follow the rules" and covered up his misconduct.

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