City lawyers take fired cop to task during wrongful termination trial

By  | 

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Douglas Parker, a Portland-based labor and employment attorney hired by the Municipality of Anchorage to defend the city against a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former police lieutenant Anthony Henry, cross-examined former APD Lt. Tony Henry Wednesday.

[RELATED: Fired APD Lieutenant takes the stand in suit against the city]

Parker asked Henry about a handful of former colleagues-- deputy chiefs, lieutenants and sergeants, a mix of higher, same and lower rank coworkers. Each had some role in the alleged retaliatory conduct Henry claims eventually lead to his termination.

Parker asked Henry to confirm that he thought they were "out to get him."

When posed the same question about Deputy Chief Steve Hebbe, Henry told Parker "I think when you get cross-threaded with Steve Hebbe, he doesn't forget it."

Trial testimony has revealed Henry clashed with Hebbe, Capt. Kris Miller, Capt. Ross Plummer, Lt. Myron Fanning, and Lt. Kevin Vandegriff and Sgt. Jack Carson, who are both with internal affairs within the Anchorage Police Department.

Hebbe and Henry's dislike for each other was so strong that the police chief at the time, Mark Mew, moved them into separated divisions.

Henry testified that he interpreted the changing assignments, which kept him out of APD's main headquarters, and the loss of his SWAT vehicle to a standard patrol car, as the city "sending a message" that there will be consequences for people who speak out.

"You viewed that as a loss of prestige, right?" Parker asked.

"Yes," Henry answered.

Parker also pressed Henry about why he had filed a court action, after signing a settlement agreement and getting a $26,000 payout for unpaid time he'd accrued as flex time.

Henry explained it was because weeks after the settlement, he found himself subject to yet another workplace complaint, one that was ultimately deemed unfounded. Sgt. Carson had accused Henry of covering up another officer's on-the-job performance problems stemming from a medical condition.

For Henry, enough was enough.

A lingering issue is whether Henry had done anything to interfere with a significant, ongoing federal investigation into an active drug cartel operating in Alaska, and its ties, via informants, to the Alaska National Guard.

[RELATED: Former National Guard chief takes standin lawsuit against city]

Henry has denied the accusation, along with allegations that APD had launched its own, separate drug investigation into the Alaska National Guard.

On cross-examination, Parker attempted to demonstrate that Henry did not fully cooperate with the city's outside investigator, who'd been hired to investigate Henry and Chief Mark Mew related to the Anchorage Police Department's connection - if any - to misconduct scandals unfolding within the Alaska National Guard.

[RELATED: KTUU wins document quest, revealing former Anchorage police chief mishandled internal affairs inquiry]

Parker accused Henry of posing questions to the investigators, asking for information instead of answering their questions.

"You're asking questions like you're the interviewer, aren't you?" Parker said.

"I was trying to elicit information so that I could give them intelligent answers," Henry replied.

Henry said he was frustrated that he was being interrogated by a paid consultant hired to investigate him, and that the investigator didn't seem to have the source documents to back up what Henry was being accused of.

At the end of his testimony, Henry suggested the constant string of complaints and personnel actions he was subjected to were in part politically motivated.

In 2014, Gov. Sean Parnell was up for re-election, with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan signed on as Parnell's running mate as lieutenant governor.

Parnell and Sullivan lost the election in the wake of alleged misconduct within the Alaska National Guard getting national attention, and suggestions the Anchorage Police Department had involvement in mishandling sexual assault cases connected to the guard.

Henry was fired in April, 2015.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus