Three female Salt Lake City police officers plan to sue the city and the police department for claims of sexual harassment by a supervisor.
According to the claim, Salt Lake City Deputy Chief Rick Findlay took a female officers’ private cell phone, transferred personal photographs to his own phone, then shared the photographs with co-workers. Another officer claims that Findlay made up lies to co-workers that he had nude photographs of her. Attorney Ed Brass is representing the officers. He says the city’s human resources department found that the women had been sexually harassed, but the city did not take any disciplinary action.
“He was placed on paid vacation for an extended period of time, then permitted to retire with full benefits, no punishment imposed whatsoever,” Brass says. “Nothing happened to him.” He says this is a problem that extends beyond this case. He and his clients are seeking changes in the culture of the police department. “We’re seeking that female officers in the future be subject to equal treatment, and that people who harass other people in the department not go unpunished.”
Brass also says he’d like to see such complaints investigated by outside police agencies. He claims that his clients were dissuaded from promptly complaining about Rick Findlay because of his position of authority. As Deputy Chief of Internal Affairs, Findlay would have been reviewing their complaints.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker released a statement Sunday night, saying he takes any claim of harassment and discrimination very seriously. He commended the officers’ courage for coming forward and said his administration will not tolerate any instance of retaliation.