Ex-Cop Sues City Over Wrongful Termination

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Basehor, Kan. US~Observer Special Report — When the act of bullying comes to mind, one tends to think that it is primarily a problem that kids and school principals have to deal with. But sometimes it’s an issue adults must cope with as well. Such appears to be the case for Jason Cory, who worked as a police officer in Basehor, Kan., from September 2007 to July 2010 and is now suing the city for his wrongful termination.

Cory’s lawsuit alleges that although many city officials considered him an exemplary officer, during his nearly three years on Basehor’s police force, he was regularly “ridiculed and belittled” by Police Chief Lloyd Martley and his right-hand man, Lieutenant Robert Pierce.

It seems Cory’s ill treatment at the hands of his superiors wasn’t because he was a bad officer, but apparently because he was guilty of performing his job too well and for “speaking out about ongoing policies and conditions… which he considered dangerous and/or unethical.”

The lawsuit states that in one instance, he was inexplicably ordered by Martley not to report as a crime a clear case of identity theft involving the stolen Social Security number and forged signature of a local citizen. When Cory attempted to follow correct police procedure by filling out the necessary paperwork for the crime, Martley reportedly became “enraged.”

Other highly suspect, “accepted” practices were also allegedly met with a blind eye by Martley, such as on-duty officers “disappear[ing] for extended periods” or “to sleep on the job,” thereby leaving fellow officers without backup. The lawsuit alleges that when Cory attempted to express his concerns about these issues and others, he was “warned” by his superiors “to mind his own business, to stop talking and to stop asking questions.”

One particularly dangerous allegation involved shotgun shells being repeatedly removed from police shotguns stowed in patrol cars. When Cory reported the problem to Martley, he was told: “It’s not my [Martley’s] responsibility” and “it is no concern of yours [Cory’s].” Apparently, the safety of police officers and that of the citizens they are supposed to protect is no concern of Martley’s. When Cory told Pierce about the problem concerning the shotguns, Pierce reportedly told him he was a “F*****g… goober” and that he is “the only person that comes in here and asks stupid questions.”

In another instance, Cory reported that he was physically assaulted by Pierce in the presence of Martley, which resulted in no subsequent action taken against Pierce by the department. Cory was ultimately compelled to report the incident to the Leavenworth County Sheriff after he was unable to get Martley or then city administrator, Mark Loughry [who has since been fired for allegedly other unethical practices], to respond appropriately.

For reasons involving additional “costs,” as the lawsuit alleges, it was also important to Martley that his officers not be first responders to emergency calls that involved the fire department or emergency medical technicians (EMTs). In one instance, according to the lawsuit, Cory witnessed officers being “berated” by both Martley and Pierce for being the first on the scene where a 9-year-old boy was reported to be experiencing a severe asthma attack that ultimately led to the child’s death. It appears that Martley wants his officers, who have CPR and other first-responder training, to hold back in such cases until others can arrive on the scene and be responsible for making first-responder decisions — yet another dangerous policy for citizens relying on a police department that is supposed to make public safety its highest priority. In addition, according to the lawsuit, Martley’s response to the above incident was, “What kind of morons run with lights and sirens to a dead kid?”

Finally, in July 2010, Cory received a telephone call from Martley telling him he was being terminated. Although, according to the lawsuit, no explanation for his termination was stated at the time, Cory had allegedly already been told by Martley that “if he wanted to let… [Cory] go he could do so at any time for any reason.” Martley had allegedly also told Cory previously that he “could let… [Cory] go at any time despite… [Cory’s] claim of hostile work environment provided that he [Martley] could create a pretext to give the department and the city a claim of ‘just cause.’” Also, according to the lawsuit, Martley added: “If anyone questions the basis for your termination, they will always ‘go with the investigators.’” Martley and Pierce were the “investigators.”

When this reporter attempted to contact several former city officials who could shed light on Cory’s situation and other allegations of corruption within the city, few were willing to share their experiences. However, one former city council member who knew both the plaintiff and defendants in the lawsuit stated that he would “lean toward” Cory’s case having merit. However, the unwillingness of so many to talk about what goes on inside Basehor’s government makes this reporter wonder if there is a prevailing climate of fear — of either lawsuits or threat of retaliation — residing within the people in and around the township of Basehor.

As a result of his experiences working for the Basehor Police Department and the hardship his alleged wrongful termination has had on his family, Cory is now advocating special legislation designed to specifically protect first responders in both fire and police departments, including EMTs, from wrongful termination and unjust retaliation by their superiors. Cory contends that police, fire personnel and EMTs who arrive first on the scene of a crime, fire or health-related emergency often have to make split-second decisions that sometimes don’t turn out to be the best solution for the situation. Cory asserts that official personnel should not have to risk losing their jobs or face unfair harassment as a result of difficult decisions made under highly stressful conditions, reporting public corruption or, in some instances, even having to ticket or arrest a government official. Cory contends that nonpublic employees have many resources to turn to if they allege wrongful termination from their jobs, but government employees like police and firefighters have almost none. Cory’s bill seeks to change that. To learn more about Cory and his legislation, go to Facebook and search: protectthebadge.com.

Perhaps the good people of Basehor who read this article will demand more accountability from those who are hired to protect the people they serve, including police officers; and the stress that Cory and his family have gone through will not be in vain.

–Lorne Dey

Personal Liberty

Lorne Dey

is a freelance writer living in Colorado. He has been following politics since in his early 20's and is deeply concerned about where the United States is currently headed politically. He believes that fundamental change is needed at all levels of government and can only be brought about by a grassroots effort from conservative-minded Americans who believe in the soundness of our nation's founding documents.

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  • johnnywoo

    The police chief and his second in command should be fired,then it would be a better department!!

  • wavesofgrain

    The greatest travesty of this nation was allowing unionization of public employees. They all feel they are above the law, and have formed Union Mafia Democratic Arm answerable to only the Union, NOT the citizens who pay their wages. I hope this cop wins his lawsuit. This is a perfect example of why our crime rates have escalated. And you can’t fire a bad union cop…

    • Chester

      Sir, this has NOTHING to do with unionization and a whole lot to do with good old boys covering each other’s backs. From the descriptions given in this article, I would say the police chief, the city supervisor, and the chief’s sidekick all have leaned very hard on the rest of the city council, with threats not only made, but carried out.

  • Debbie Hogan Tate

    The Chief and his sidekick should be fired immediately and no benefits coming from this county or state! This is not the people I would want to “protect and serve” for me. I would be afraid more of them than what ever the reason for calling them! They should not be in law enforcement! EVER AGAIN! Obama’s corruption runs deep!

    • Tony Martin

      I have no love or even “like” for Obama but this has nothing to do with him. Your comment degrades your argument. What is the other side to the story. Perhaps the Chief is right. Most professional Police Departments attempt to limit the running of emergency calls as they are a danger to the public and the officer. (Officers injured / dead from automobile accident is higher then shooting) How much of this side of the story is true? Perhaps you jump to a conclusion without all the facts.

      • Debbie Hogan Tate

        My comment about Obama was because he is letting our police departments become a militia! We are not even supposed to speak badly of them when they actually need to be remove! He is letting them get away with everything they want! Why can’t he speak up on what is happening to our police department? Everyday you hear more and more how the police are being “bullies” to people who don’t deserve the problems that the police are causing! Here are a few examples!

        http://personalliberty.com/2013/07/30/police-kill-95-year-old-nursing-home-resident-with-taser-bean-bag-shot/

        http://personalliberty.com/2013/08/09/predator-cop-gets-state-sanction-for-beating-a-woman/

        • Tony Martin

          Sorry it has been long to get back to you. I been in Hospital. Debbie you are right as to what is happening. But the local police are not supposed to be controled by the federal government. (Posse Comitatus Act, Fed law passed in 1878,)The president who ever it may be has no authority over the police. The police are hired, trained, fired and paid by the local government. So, the government where the officers work are the ones to complain too. However before one complains they should have all the facts, Not just the ones shown on a web site. As Dr. Phil say “Every pancake has two sides.”. My fear is that the Federal Government does take control over the local Police. That is what Obama wants to do. It is what happened in my homeland with the German State Police, under Hitler. I love your fighting spirit, aim it to the right person, and keep it up.
          P.S. Keep Obama from doing away with POSSE COMITATUS, He does want to take over all the local government functions. Take Care.
          I can be reached at tonymartin4536@gmail.com

  • Tony Martin

    Bet there is an other side to the story. We are reading the side of the fired employee. Perhaps he is a loose canon, maybe not? Does the City of Basehor, Kan. Have a civil service board? Is he protected under various types of Civil Service Rules, Merit boards, etc? If he is then he has a place for the issue to be heard.

  • old vet

    The city has a population of 4500 or so. To fire 2 officers would be one half the force.

  • Mike Austin

    If this is true, the Chief and his sidekick need to bow to the needs of the zero carbon footprint and be taken out like the trash. Lets see what comes out in court.

  • Oneyeopn

    Having lived in small towns in both Kansas and Oklahoma in my lifetime, I have seen the games that the local PD’s can play. My youngest brother is a LEO along with nephews and cousins. All I ask them is to not turn into the buttholes that a lot of LEO’s turn into. I know that they didnt start out that way but after having the authority a lot of LEO’s are good people to know but do not break the law or even get close to it. I rather imagine that the Police Chief and his Lt. are probably in the wrong, bad wrong and need to go. In the particular county that I live in there are two men who have been trading the county sheriff’s job back and forth for 30 years with term limits being the reason they swap back and forth.

  • Guest

    Yes there are often two sides to every story. That’s why I encourage everyone to do their own research. ( Public Records ) Not only regarding this article but regarding the numerous other wrongfully terminated officers, firefighters and EMTs who have done Nothing wrong, reported corruption and lose their careers because there’s no protection in many of our right to work states, counties, towns and cities. ( Right to work should not apply to first responders. It breeds corruption! ) This may help those of you that think there’s a Civil Service Board or EEOC waiting to jump in to help us. Please understand this is not about one officer. This is about helping future ethical first responders keep their jobs, dignity and pride in serving others and limiting corruption or unsafe policies! Regardless of your feelings regarding this article please keep the discussion going, it’s the only way anything will be accomplished. Join us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Protectthebadgecom/399028766826722?ref=tn_tnmn or http://www.protectthebadge.com

  • NoahFence,but…

    Chester is 100% on the mark! Wish there was more like you living in Basehor! Tony appears to have already jumped to conclusions even when facts are presented with evidence, and that’s the same thing that freezes Basehor into polarization, allowing further abuse, but if there were more Chesters, Basehor could at least start to get rid of the layers upon layers of corrupt/good ol’ boy network system! Prior victims were forced to either retire or resign, to the point of one committing suicide, so said local paper, all given gag orders…go here to read the actual lawsuit for yourself, with the defendants’ reply, in the local paper itself, dated Aug. 23, 2012: http://www.basehorinfo.com/news/2012/aug/23/former-police-officer-sues-city-basehor-alleging-w/

  • NoahFence,but…

    The “former city administrator” was caught changing the dollar amount on his contract after receiving it, already approved, signed by him and all others, and sealed, also after the city attorney found that he’d lied about the dollar amt. he’d received at his prior job (with city atty quitting with a published letter stating he was quitting before being implicated in any of city hall’s corruption), and taking said changed contract to payroll saying it’d been approved, and then got the mayor to sign off on it, too, which city council found out and fired city administrator and began a recall of the mayor, to which the good ol’ boy network jumped into action and had the 3 city council members who fired their alleged buddy recalled, remaining city council “voted in” one of themselves to be new mayor, appointed more alleged buddies, and waalaah, all “voted in” at election time, and city hall’s running smooth once again, no whistleblowers to be worried about! Gossip? Read the lawsuit and the local papers, KCTV-5 covered it all, public records all around, but Basehor just can’t get enough “Chesters” together to defeat the obvious…follow the money trail…they keep giving themselves raises ever since elected, with the “new” city administrator being one of the defendants in the lawsuit while he continues to manage the city AND continues to be police chief at the same time, giving himself several raises, (allegedly, but covered in local paper), and local paper appears to not be interested in covering it any more after publishing the actual lawsuit (??), and as the defendant he’s managing the city’s end of the lawsuit! It’s nothing “personal,” and there’s no “personality conflict” against any of them, but say anything about cleaning up city hall and getting back to honest people running it, and you’re immediately a “conspiracy nut” and told to “love it or leave it,” which a lot of them do, therefore, the real reason for no growth in Basehor….not the only city out there with the same problems, but what do you do other than “leave it” after city hall’s so blatantly in your face about “we do it because we can” attitude!?

  • Movingout

    City was looking to replace their Chief/Administrator with an actual city administrator. ( 2012 ) http://www.basehorinfo.com/news/2012/sep/10/basehor-city-council-moving-ahead-city-administrat/ but then why do that just turn the city over to him for almost two years. A new administrator may not go along with anything questionable. ( 2013) http://www.basehorinfo.com/news/2013/feb/12/city-wants-more-applicants-city-administrator/ yes I just checked and this chief is still running things!?! Why?

  • Drake

    http://www.basehorinfo.com/news/2013/mar/27/basehor-officer-still-duty-after-dui-arrest/

    So they keep a new officer that was arrested for a Crime and terminated this officer Cory?
    I guess if you play ball with the chief you can get along with anything?