Former officer suing Blytheville police chief and city

Former officer suing Blytheville police chief and city

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A former Blytheville police officer is suing the City of Blytheville and the city's police chief.

The lawyer of fired police officer Rodney Richardson filed the lawsuit in the Mississippi County Circuit Court on July 26.

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson fired Richardson on November 17, 2015, citing improper conduct.

According to the lawsuit, the city of Blytheville passed an ordinance nearly 10 years ago to get rid of the civil service commission for police department employees and firemen. In its place, they created an appeals board. The appeals board gives officers and firemen an entity to appeal their terminations.

The lawsuit states the city gave authority to create rules and regulations for appeals from employees to Thompson and the fire chief, but no rules or regulations have been proposed or adopted by the appeals board.

Richardson was placed on administrative leave on September 3, 2015, before being fired on November 17, 2015.

Richardson appealed his termination, and a hearing was set for December 17, 2015. However, the hearing was never held due to scheduling conflicts.

The suit states another hearing was set for March 21, 2016, but instead of having an appeal hearing, Mayor James Sanders and the Blytheville City Council chose to go into executive session. The suit claims they denied a hearing before the appeals board for Richardson.

A member of the Appeals Board was not allowed in the executive session but the mayor, who was not a member of the appeals board, was.

The lawsuit goes on to state that Richardson has requested a public hearing, but it has not been afforded one.

Richardson is seeking damages of lost pay, damage to his reputation, and mental anguish.

He is also seeking punitive damages and attorneys fees.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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