Suit: Officer Demoted After Reporting Supervisor Misconduct - NBC Chicago

Suit: Officer Demoted After Reporting Supervisor Misconduct

Officer Anthony Hernandez says he was pulled from the street and relegated to a "penalty box" when he reported a sergeant's alleged wrong-doing



    Officer Anthony Hernandez says his supervisor falsified time records and was demoted when he brought up the issue. Phil Rogers reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013)

    A Chicago police officer has filed suit against the department and three of his supervisors, complaining that one of those supervisors, his sergeant, falsified time records as compensation for rehab work he did on the sergeant’s Michigan summer home.

    Officer Anthony Hernandez, an undercover narcotics officer, says he took time off to do the work in the summer of 2011. But when a dispute arose over payment, Hernandez says his sergeant, James Padar, told him he had falsified time records to make it appear he had been at work at his police job the entire time.

    "He said that he held my slips, meaning that he carried me on the city payroll, while I was actually in Michigan working on his house," Hernandez explained.

    In essence, the officer alleges his boss told him the taxpayers would be paying his bill. The officer’s attorney, Patrick Walsh, says he was warned to keep quiet.

    "Officer Hernandez alleges that [Padar] said, 'I’ve done this before. I’ve done this for other officers. You better not say anything, because I could get in a lot of trouble for it,'" said Walsh.

    Hernandez claims that when he complained about the matter, he was pulled from the street and relegated to an inside job at the police facility at Homan Square.

    "Now he sits in the guard shack," Walsh said. "He was a high ranking undercover officer."

    Hernandez's lawsuit against the police department, Padar, and two other supervisors, alleges his first amendment rights were violated when he raised the construction matter and was demoted. In the meantime, he says a separate complaint filed with the police department’s own Internal Affairs unit has gone nowhere.

    "I was told by internal affairs investigators that I should have expected this to happen," said Hernandez.

    Padar did not return a call seeking comment. The City Law Department said they had not been served with the suit and had no comment. Police department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said the department was aware of the matter, but citing the ongoing internal affairs investigation, she said they had no comment on the latest allegations.