Officer sues WPD chief over comments causing 'great harm' to reputation

WICHITA, Kan. A Wichita police officer is suing Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay over comments he says were misleading and placed him in a false light. Officer Marlon Woolcock's lawsuit against WPD Chief Gordon Ramsay is related to the chief's response to the officer's Feb. 2017 arrest on one count of rape.

Background in the lawsuit explains that on Feb. 11, 2017, a woman asked Woolcock to meet her at a Wichita bar. And "unbeknownst to (Woolcock), (the woman) was not separated from her husband as Woolcock was led to believe.

The morning after spending the night with Woolcock, the petition says the woman "apparently worried about her marriage and her job," and "reported to the Wichita Police Department that she had been raped the evening before by Officer Woolcock."

"She claimed that she was too drunk to have given consent to the relations they had the evening before," the petition says. The suit says Woodcock was arrested in spite of video from the bar showing the woman "was all over (Woolcock) and in full control of her faculties."

Woolcock spent several days in jail before bonding out. The lawsuit calls out Ramsay for statements made in the days following Woolcock's arrest.This includes a Feb. 13 department-wide email Ramsay sent.

We have the highest standards of conduct and I was disappointed to learn about this incident," Ramsay says in the email. "Unfortunately, policing is sadly unique in the sense that when one officer engages in misconduct, it reflects poorly on our entire profession. Let’s be honest, this incident will likely take away some of the community support we’ve been receiving, but as easy as it would be to hide out and not engage the public in a proactive and positive manner, it is critical you continue to show this community who you are. Hold your head high and be proud to be a member of this department."

Later that day, during the Wichita Police Department's daily briefing, the lawsuit accuses Ramsay of "disparaging Mr. Woolcock and stating that the allegations were not in line with the department's highest standards of conduct and that he was disappointed to hear about the incidence because when one officer engages in this conduct, it reflects poorly on the whole community."

The petition says Ramsay's statements portrayed that Woolcock committed a crime.

"Mr. Woolcock was suspected of a crime and the statements of Chief Ramsay made it seem as though he had already been convicted," the petition says. "This caused great harm to Officer Woolcock and his reputation suffered as a result. Ramsay was more than willing to defame and throw Officer Woolcock under the bus for a crime he did not commit to burnish his own carefully crafted reputation."

In June 2017, the district attorney reached the conclusion that a rape case couldn't be made. The decision,the petition says, cited video evidence from the bar and toxicology results.

"Even after the District Attorney's office demonstrated that a rape case did not exist, Officer Woolcock and his reputation were left flapping in the breeze," the petition says.

The suit says Woolcock returned to active duty with the WPD last September. The suit further claims that this damage to Woolcock's reputation diminished his chances to become an FBI agent.

The lawsuit asks for a judgement against Ramsay "in excess of $75,000 plus (Woolcock's) costs and "any other and further relief as the Court might deem just or equitable."

Eyewitness News reached out to the City of Wichita Thursday. At this point, the city says it is not commenting on the lawsuit.