Detroit police lieutenant files racial discrimination lawsuit - KMSP-TV

Detroit police lieutenant files racial discrimination lawsuit

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Lt. Charles Flanagan Lt. Charles Flanagan
DETROIT (WJBK) - What would you do if you saw something suspect going on at your job? Would you keep quiet about it, or would you tell? A police lieutenant did just that and he did not get a pat on the back.

The Detroit Police Department Narcotics Unit is all about busting the bad guys but now one of its own is not fighting the felons - he's got a fight of his own.

Lieutenant Charles Flanagan, with Detroit Police Narcotics, has been on the force for 29 years. But now that law enforcer is filing a lawsuit citing racial discrimination.

Flanagan, who you can see is white, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission back in late May. His attorney, Mike Rataj, confirms those facts to Fox 2.

But his client is not finished making his claims. We're told Flanagan will soon file a federal whistleblower complaint.

Why?

He feels he's been subjected to a hostile work environment for reporting wrongdoing Flanagan says he spotted on the inside, inside the drug unit.

Last month Rataj tells us the lieutenant uncovered some questionable conduct during a probe inside the narcotics section, like sergeants failing to report drug evidence and making false evidence tags on stuff seized during drug raids like a video game system, a laptop and flat screen TVs for personal gain.

Flanagan also claims he and a few other officers who look like him were going to be booted, transferred, and he would be removed as supervisor because he stepped up and reported what he said he witnessed.

"Generally, the EEOC, when they get these cases they're looking for very blatant discrimination. ... He is upset because he was transferred because he was doing his job as a police officer, and I don't know that race is really the motivating issue. Doesn't mean he can't sue for that; doesn't mean he can't allege that; doesn't mean that his boss was black and he was white. It really means is, why was he transferred? And if he was transferred because the "boss" didn't want him snooping around and finding out that the boss wasn't doing good things, that's a better whistleblower case," says Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton.

"I think this officer is setting up for a whistleblower case, and from what I know of the facts over here, it seems to me when you have a police officer doing his job, trying to uncover bad things, and he did, and he gets transferred because of it? That's a whistleblower case. I would imagine the whistleblower case is probably on its way and I can't wait to see it," Langton says.

Fox 2 did reach out to DPD for comment but Chief James Craig was not available Thursday night.
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