Police Captain Files Whistleblower Claim After Demotion

When Charlie Sheen arrived in our nation's capital last year and was late for a performance, he called the police to help quickly escort him to the venue.

It was out of the ordinary -- the police in D.C. had escorted many celebrities before, including Jay-Z and Bill Gates. In the case of Sheen, he paid the city for the officers' overtime that accumulated during the escort. It doesn't seem like a big deal, right?

Well, the police captain in charge of the Sheen detail was demoted soon after the escort. There were no complaints or negative performance reviews leading up to man's demotion, his lawyer said. In addition, there is no clear rule or conduct provision that states the police cannot escort a celebrity.

The reason the former police captain is making a whistleblower claim is because his demotion only occurred after he told the city council about the escort. During that discussion, he admitted that it may have been against police protocol, but on a case-by-case basis, police escorts did not necessarily have to be reserved for official trips.

After the hearing, the police chief demoted the man -- the second time she has done so.

Does the police chief have a vendetta against this officer? That much is unclear, but the man's $6 million whistleblower suit may be warranted if it is found that the chief made an illegal employment decision based on an officer's good decision to inform the city of the potentially-suspect escorting procedure.

Employees should not be afraid to tell their employers of a crime or illegal act done by another employee. There are laws that protect whistleblowers from such persecution or any retaliation that may result.

Source: Associated Press, "Demoted Policeman Sues Over Sheen Escort in DC," Eric Tucker, Aug. 8, 2012

  • Whistleblowers are protected by law, and any retaliation from their employers is illegal. To learn more about the topic in this post, go to our Harris County whistleblower page.