Seven Points police sergeant files whistleblower lawsuit

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 20, 2011, 6:29am

TYLER - A former police officer for the city of Seven Points has filed a lawsuit under the Texas Whistleblower Act, claiming he was terminated after he reported inappropriate behavior by another law enforcement officer.

Former police officer Sgt. Raymond Wennerstrom filed suit against the city of Seven Points and Mayor John J. Dobbs on May 9 in Henderson County District Court. The defendant removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division on June 8.

According to the complaint, Wennerstrom was terminated by the mayor on March 29. Approximately 90 days prior to his termination, he states he made multiple reports that police Lt. Mike Tayem had abused his powers as a law enforcement officer on an inmate who refused medical treatment. Tayem, who is Dobbs life partner according to the lawsuit, was placed on administrative leave with pay due to the good-faith report of the violation of law.

Shortly thereafter, Wennerstrom claims he was demoted from sergeant to police officer.
Wennerstrom states he filed a grievance regarding his demotion. He argued that the demotion violated the city's policy on discipline because demotions could not be enacted without the approval of the mayor and the city council.

According to court records, the mayor denied the grievance. Approximately two weeks later, the plaintiff was terminated from his position.

The defendants are accused of violating Texas Government Codes and violating Wennerstrom' s due process.

The plaintiff is asking the court for reinstatement, actual damages including lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.

Wennerstrom is represented by Christopher D. Livingston of Lyon, Gorsky, Haring, Gilbert & Livingston in Dallas. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:11-cv-00295

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