Lawsuit: Former Lubbock ISD officer reporting 'illegal behavior'

Lawsuit: Former Lubbock ISD officer reporting 'illegal behavior' led to termination

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A former Lubbock ISD patrol officer has filed a lawsuit against the district -- also specifically naming its Chief of Police.

Tommy Williams, who was terminated by the district, is suing defendants Jody Scifres and Lubbock ISD for a minimum of $100,000 in damages. He claims he's suffered lost wages, job opportunities, loss of reputation, and emotional damages. 

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in a district court, and alleges Lt. Darren Walters -- under the supervision of Chief Scifres -- "pressured" Williams "and other officers to write tickets and perform arrests on students in violation of LISD policy, standard police practices, and state law." It states the pair also "ordered arrests of adults on campus in violation of state law."

Williams reported the violations of law by Lt. Walters to the superintendent at the time, Berhl Robertson, and later to the Texas Rangers, according to the lawsuit.

Williams claims Chief Scifres and Lt. Walters created a "hostile" working environment. Williams's lawsuit indicates he went to Robertson in August 2017 and said Scifres and Walters were "looking for a reason to fire him."

On Sept. 14, 2017, Williams was notified by letter of termination, dated Sept. 11, 2017, that he was being terminated for "alleged severe violations of policies and procedures."

Williams tried to appeal his termination, and was placed on administrative leave. His termination was upheld and final on March 22, 2018.

According to the lawsuit, Williams believes he was terminated "in retaliation" for reporting potential violations of the laws regarding arrest procedures and citations for offenses by Lt. Walters.

Williams alleges he was given a "less than honorable discharge, adversely affecting his peace officer's license by denying [him] his full wages, and by denying [his] unemployment compensation claims." The lawsuit states Williams suffered "severe financial loss."

The lawsuit alleges Chief Scifres and Lubbock ISD created the hostile working environment, in violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act, and the district "endorsed" the behavior by Lt. Walters and Scifres by "receiving notice of the bad acts" and "failing to take action to resolve the violations."

Lubbock ISD has released a statement regarding the lawsuit: 

"As a matter of practice, we do not comment on pending litigation; however, we will be vigorously defending this lawsuit."

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