“WTOP has learned Capt. Melvin Gresham from the Third District Police station in Northwest was involved in an accident with a Metro bus while driving his department vehicle. Gresham told a subordinate officer, who responded to the accident, to change a police report to indicate the Metro bus driver was at fault.”
I went ahead and interviewed two police officials about the incident. One of them was Lt. Mike Smith who was interviewed by internal affairs about the incident. Smith had come on the accident scene and was well versed in the events on the scene. I also interviewed another police official who had previous dealings with Gresham and characterized the supervisor as “not a fair person.”
The blog item was fairly run of the mill: a graph or two taken from the WTOP piece and some quick phone calls piggybacking on the news. This did not stop the comment box from filling up with allegations that my reporting had been way off or to keep everyone updated on the latest in the case or personally slam Lt. Smith.
In late June, Gresham filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. He listed as the defendants in the case: Chief Cathy Lanier, Assistant Chief Jose Acosta, the police department as well as other officers and officials including Lt. Smith. The complaint alleges the defendants retaliated against Gresham under the Whistleblower Protection Act, defamation, breach of contract, and “intentional infliction of Emotional Distress.”
The rundown of alleged acts reads like a soap opera:
- Gresham alleges that he was ordered by Acosta “to participate in an scheme of retaliation against Commander Winston Robinson.” When Gresham allegedly refused, he was “targeted for retaliation by Senior Managers” within the police department.
- Gresham alleges that Executive Assistant Chief Michael Fitzgerald “refused to investigate allegations of unethical and criminal wrongdoing lodged by Cpt. Gresham.” He also refused to carry the issues forward to police department authorities and Department of Justice monitors. “As a result of his complaints, Cpt. Gresham was DENIED promotions and assignments necessary for progression within the Department.”
- The complaint goes on to state: “Chief Lanier or agents authorized by her conspired with Michael Smith to target Cpt. Gresham for retaliatory discharge and did charge him with abuse of power.”
The complaint gets better. Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest and Lt. Smith’s response.