WPD deputy chiefs file lawsuit against Wichita city officials
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Three of the Wichita Police Department’s top officers (two former and one current) are officially suing the city manager and other city officials. A 42-page complaint filed Monday by former WPD deputy chiefs Wanda Givens, Chet Pinkston and current deputy chief Jose Salcido specifies that the trio is suing Wichita City Manager Robert Layton, the city’s former human resources director, the Wichita police union, and others.
Givens retired in early 2022 after 34 years with the WPD. Pinkston, also a WPD veteran of more than 30 years, is moving to southwest Kansas to be the next police chief in Liberal.
In the suit, Givens, Pinkston and Salcido claim there are inappropriate relationships between the city manager, the police union and the now-former HR director which covered up several police and internal investigations. The three plaintiffs in the case also claim they were made “scapegoats” in the investigation into racist and sexist text messages sent by some WPD officers.
You can read the complaint in its entirety below:
In September, FactFinder 12 reported that the deputy chiefs were seeking a settlement from the City of Wichita for defamation. Attorney James Thompson issued a demand letter the behalf of Givens, Pinkston and Salcido.
In the letter, the deputy chiefs alleged Layton, former City of Wichita HR Director Chris Bezruki, the Fraternal Order of Police and others “resisted, or outright defied, actions by the executive staff” to address disciplinary issues within the Wichita Police Department.
“Layton and Bezruki repeatedly lied about their knowledge of incidents within this abhorrent subculture and took action to protect and/or conceal it,” the letter stated.
In September, Layton issued the following statement, refuting allegations.
“I have just reviewed the letter prepared by James Thompson. The allegations made are outrageous. I have full confidence in the consultant, Jensen Hughes, who was hired to investigate relationships among the Police Department, Human Relations Department, Law Department and City Manager’s Office. I have nothing to hide and look forward to the full review and determination of these allegations by the consultant or a court of law should Mr. Thompson decide to proceed with a legal filing.”
After the lawsuit was filed, 12 News sat down with Thompson who said his clients believe it’s important for the taxpayers of Wichita to know what goes on at City Hall.
“They hope that through the process of litigation that some of that information will be released and they will be vindicated,” Thompson said.
The City of Wichita said it’s prepared to face the deputy chiefs in court.
“The city looks forward forward to vigorously defending its reputation providing evidence and witnesses that will counter the narrative that has been publicly shared to date,” a statement from the City of Wichita said.
Further, a spokesperson for the City of Wichita said it’s “never had such egregiously false accusations made against the city.”
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