The plot continues to thicken for a three-year-old O’Fallon police lawsuit.
Plaintiffs’ attorney John Lynch explained that on Thursday, Nov. 12, Maj. Kyle Kelley and Capt. Jeffrey Gray had to “surrender their credentials, badges, access cards and police-issued sidearms, then were escorted out of the building and placed on paid administrative leave.”
“They were told to leave all of their personal items in the office,” Lynch said. “The city told them all of this was done so an internal investigation can be conducted to review the recent complaint they filed with human resources against the city administrator and the new interim police chief.”
Lynch said Kelley’s and Gray’s complaint had to do with inappropriate requests made by new Interim Police Chief Philip Dupuis during a “happy hour” with police command staff. Lynch clarified that “the investigation should be fairly easy to complete because there were several witnesses who can be interviewed.”
“Terrible what has happened to these two guys,” Lynch said of the administrative leave. “Perfect example of how broken the City of O’Fallon has truly become.”
Kelley, with 30 years as an O’Fallon police officer and currently assistant chief of police, and Gray, with 27 years, now are sitting at home awaiting the results of that internal investigation.
Meanwhile, two lawsuits filed by Gray and Kelley continue to be in-progress in St. Charles Circuit Court.
Gray and Kelley filed a 6-count employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of O’Fallon on Feb. 12, 2018, in St. Charles County Circuit Court (case no. 1811-CC000150). They had insisted on a jury trial. On July 19, 2019, Mayor Bill Hennessy was added to that lawsuit as a seventh count of alleged defamation.
Throughout 2018, 2019 and 2020, the case proceeded in fits and starts. There were delays in obtaining discovery materials; then, delays in getting deposition scheduled. In spring 2020, the pandemic caused court-related shutdowns and delays. Finally, the defendants deposed plaintiffs Gray and Kelley via Zoom on Aug. 19.
On Sept. 3, Lynch filed a lawsuit against former police chief Tim Clothier on behalf of Gray, alleging defamation by the chief from a separate incident in 2020. That case number is 2011-CC00845.
For the original case and on behalf of the plaintiffs, Lynch has been scheduling depositions of the defendants, via Zoom, for November and December, with the last one to be on Dec. 15. Those include Clothier, City Administrator Mike Snowden, Director of Human Resources Tanya Davies, Hennessy, city clerk Pam Clement, former interim police chief Gary George, former city administrator Bonnie Therrien, retired police chief Roy Joachimstaler, and administrative services director John Griesenauer.
Lynch said a trial date should be set once the depositions are completed.
As a matter of policy, the city of O’Fallon does not comment on active cases or on personnel matters.