Ex-Brooklyn Center Police Chief Sues After Termination Following Wright Killing

 Ex-Brooklyn Center Police Chief Sues After Termination Following Wright Killing

After Wright v. Council of the City of New York, which affirmed the right of public employees to not have their speech chilled by the threat of termination, Chief Michael Bagley was terminated from his job as head of the police department in Brooklyn Center. He argues this was retaliation for statements he made during his deposition in the Wright case, and filed a lawsuit against them on October 15th. Both Wright and Bagley are black men in their fifties who grew up poor. They also both worked in law enforcement with aspirations to move up the ranks. Wright is an auxiliary police officer for the New York Police Department; Bagler was chief of police in Brooklyn Center at the time that he responded to a call regarding Jaleelah Reed and her infant son, Isaiah. He later claimed that he believed Ms. Reed was being held against her will and had been coerced by her partner into giving up custody.

Who is Jaleelah Reed?

Jaleelah Reed is a Black, female resident of Brooklyn Center. She is a single mother and had been in an on-again, off-again relationship with the father of her son since he was born. The two were never married. Ms. Reed had been living with her mother and son. When her relationship with her partner ended, he asked if he could take their son for a couple of weeks while she regained her footing. She agreed. Ms. Reed also started attending school and had her sights set on being a medical assistant.

What happened during the Wright incident?

On the morning of March 23, 2018, Ms. Reed was awoken by a Brooklyn Center police officer who told her that she had a couple of hours to get her things and leave the home that she shared with her mother. The officer took her to the police station, where Ms. Reed was met by Chief Bagley. Bagley interrogated Ms. Reed for half an hour and then left. The officer who had removed Ms. Reed from her home returned and attempted to get her to sign papers. Ms. Reed told the officer she did not want to sign anything. At that point, the officer left, and Officer Wright entered the room. He attempted to get Ms. Reed to sign the same papers, but she still refused. Wright then told Ms. Reed that she had two options. She could sign the papers and leave the police station with her son, or she could be arrested for obstructing a court order. Ms. Reed said that she did not want to sign the papers, nor did she want to go home with her son. Wright then told Ms. Reed that he would not be taking her home. Instead, he would be taking her to a shelter and dropping off her son at a foster home.

The events that led to Bagley's termination.

During his deposition, Bagley was asked if he thought that Ms. Reed had been coerced into signing the papers giving up custody of her son. Bagley said that he did not know and that, if the officer felt that Ms. Reed was being coerced, then he should have done something about it. Bagley was then asked if he had investigated the circumstances surrounding Ms. Reed’s situation before making the decision to take her son. Bagley said that he did not investigate. He claimed that he “did not feel a need to investigate the situation to determine whether there was any kind of coercion or abuse.” Chief Bagley also claimed that he was not required to investigate and that it was not part of his job as police chief. The city of Brooklyn Center claimed that Bagley’s response was a violation of their policy and that Bagley, by not investigating Ms. Reed’s situation, showed a disregard for the law. Bagley was terminated for violating their policy and for insubordination. Bagley claims that he was terminated in retaliation for his deposition and that his termination was unlawful.

The legal argument behind the lawsuit

Bagley’s suit claims that his termination was retaliation for his deposition. Bagley argues that he was fired because he did not agree with the city’s position in the Wright case. Bagley also argues that his statements were not false and were not defamatory, nor did they obstruct justice. Bagley also claims that the city’s actions violated his First Amendment right to free speech. Bagley argues that the city cannot fire an employee for defending his position in a deposition when that deposition was part of a lawsuit. Bagley’s suit also claims that the city’s decision to fire him was rooted in racial discrimination. Bagley’s suit claims that the city was attempting to make an example out of him due to his skin color.

Final Words

The best way to fight racial discrimination is through the legal system. Bagley’s lawsuit against the city of Brooklyn Center is a way to stand up for racial equity and fight against racism. This case also shows people that it is important to speak up and make sure that their rights are being protected. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you have options. You can file a complaint with the EEOC or consult with an attorney experienced in this area of law.