Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Officer Says Police Chief Hit on Him

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A former Richmond, Calif. police officer sued the police chief, claiming the man sexually harassed him and retaliated against him after he complained.

Thomas Hauschild sued the City of Richmond and Police Chief Christopher Magnus in Federal Court on April 3.

Richmond, pop. 108,000, is northwest of Berkeley, in Contra Costa County.

Hauschild claims that when he was assigned to protect Magnus after the chief had been threatened, the chief hit on him.

Magnus called the claims "bogus" on the police department's Facebook page. He wrote that "as a police chief who happens to be gay, [Hauschild suspected] I would be 'vulnerable' to this particular type of accusation."

Hauschild, who was hired in 2005, said he was assigned to protect Magnus' home in the night and early morning, because of the threats.

"On one of those evenings, Chief Magnus attempted to engage in an inappropriate, personal sexual relationship with plaintiff," the complaint states.

Hauschild claims that Magnus, "while dressed in questionable civilian attire," approached him and "began touching plaintiff inappropriately on his arm, and began rubbing plaintiff on his upper leg, in an obvious sexual manner."

He says that before this incident, the chief had called him on his personal phone several times, which made him "feel uncomfortable."

"When defendant Magnus touched and caressed his arm, plaintiff immediately informed defendant Magnus that he was not interested in any sexual relationship with the Chief of Police, and he asked defendant Magnus to stop calling him on his personal phone, and stop touching him, as it made plaintiff feel very uncomfortable in the workplace. Plaintiff then immediately reported the misconduct to his supervising lieutenant," according to the complaint.

When Magnus learned he had complained, Hauschild claims, the chief became "furious," and then "engaged in a pattern of retaliatory conduct."

Among other things, Hauschild says, he was denied overtime and removed from the SWAT team.

When Hauschild got into a domestic dispute over child custody with his ex-wife, he says, the chief used it to create a reason to fire him.

"Defendants conducted a biased internal affairs investigation, which only looked for reasons to support the termination of plaintiff's employment," Hauschild says.

Hauschild, who is a gun collector, claims that though he did nothing wrong, he was accused of domestic battery, possessing eight unregistered firearms and putting a condom on his ex-wife's front door. He was later accused of lying to an investigator, which he denies. He was fired in December 2013 after working at the department for more than eight years.

In a statement on the Richmond Police Department Facebook page, Magnus wrote that he was not surprised at being sued by an employee who had been fired.

"What did surprise me was his allegation that I'd made sexual advances towards him many years ago, a new low when it comes to bogus claims," Magnus wrote. "It appears that having assessed some other claim of bias wasn't his best option, this officer and his attorney (the same attorney suing the City on several other cases) apparently decided to exploit the fact that as a police chief who happens to be gay, I would be 'vulnerable' to this particular type of accusation."

The Richmond Police Department declined to comment further.

Hauschild seeks punitive damages and statutory penalties.

He is represented by David Poore with Brown Poore in Walnut Creek.

Contact Arvin Temkar at [email protected]

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.