Officer sues Humble, alleging retaliation

August 24, 2010 4:53:20 PM PDT
An award-winning Humble police officer is now suing his city and superiors after he says he was punished for speaking out against an assistant chief. The officer claims he's been moved to odd shifts after coming forward. He wants something to be done. The problem for Humble Police Officer Joe Martinez started in March 2009, when he complained to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education that a sergeant had taken a diversity training exam for the assistant chief, Curtis Mills.

Margaret Harris, attorney for Martinez, said, "Joe's picking up the exam and he looks and he notices the handwriting on these two is the same and he knows that's not the chief's handwriting, it's the detective's handwriting."

Officer Martinez's attorney filed a lawsuit alleging "retaliation inflicted upon him by his employer" and by both Chief Gary Warman and the assistant chief. The lawsuit says the retaliation began almost immediately.

"First of all, he stopped allowing Joe to take much of any overtime," Harris explained.

Martinez was then transferred to overnight duties at the jail -- also part of the retaliation, according to his lawyer.

But the attorney representing the city says, "Officer Martinez's assignment in the department is consistent with policy" and that the lawsuit has "no factual basis."

Harris says while Martinez issued fewer traffic tickets than many other officers, he had highest number of felony arrests in the department last year -- 37.

After investigating Martinez's allegations, the state commission on law enforcement officer standards and education agreed with Martinez's allegations about who took the test.

Even though the state agrees with Martinez, his attorney says still being punished.

"It's absurd," Harris said. "You take one of the most productive officers off the street and you put him on a jail at night."

Humble Police Chief Gary Warman declined an interview with Eyewitness News. The lawsuit could be decided next May.


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