ST. LOUIS (CN) – A police lieutenant claims he was fired for cooperating with an investigation of a shooting involving the Pine Lawn Police Chief.
Dan O’Connor says he was fired for talking to St. Louis County police and the FBI about an October 2010 shooting involving Police Chief Rickey Collins, who allegedly shot at a man fleeing from a seat belt checkpoint.
Collins gave chase after the man crashed his vehicle. No one was hit by the bullet.
O’Connor claims Collins told him to back up his story that the suspect reached for his waistband, giving Collins the impression that he was reaching for a gun.
“Plaintiff refused, stating to the chief that he would not be a conspirator in an attempted murder,” the complaint states.
After that conversation, O’Connor says, he was put on administrative leave, had his city-issued cell phone turned off and was ordered to leave his police vehicle at a city parking lot.
O’Connor says Collins approached him again on Dec. 16 about backing up his story. But O’Connor refused again and the city laid him off indefinitely four days later, allegedly for budgetary reasons, though the city has spent $80,000 on vehicles since he was fired, O’Connor claims.
He seeks reinstatement, back pay and $1 million in punitive damages for wrongful firing, retaliation and whistleblower violations. O’Connor is represented by Rick Barry.