Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Inside the McNeilly Lawsuit

The complete
McNeilly lawsuit
against the city is
available online

Sometimes, googling for background on news stories can turn up interesting nuggets.

The latest example, which I'm linking here: the complete text of the Whistleblower Law/Free Speech lawsuit by former Commander (now Lieutenant ) Catherine McNeilly.

(We'll look at some excerpts in a second.)

The suit targets the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and Police Chief Nate Harper. The complaint alleges that she was the target of retaliation for speaking out against the nomination of Dennis Regan for public safety director. These sorts of documents are routinely available online for a fee via the PACER system for eight cents per page; generally speaking, it seems that only attorneys and reporters check them out.

To my surprise, a high-ranking hit on my Google search for "McNeilly Pittsburgh" produced the ACLU's news release on the lawsuit ...

and a copy of the complaint itself, free for the public to see.

One passage in the McNeilly lawsuit quoted below refers to an alleged threat to Commander Rashall Brackney by Dennis Regan.

"14. At the time such nomination was made, McNeilly also had information, upon which she reasonably relied, that Regan had allegedly threatened a fellow Commander with adverse personnel action if such Commander enforced criminal statutes against a purported political supporter of the Administration. "

I've gotten e-mails asking me what had become of the investigation of that allegation. This reference raises the possibility that more information about it could come to light in federal court.

Pages 4-to-7 lay out McNeilly’s timeline of the events.

Her attorneys assert that she notified the Mayor of her concerns first, then
e-mailed City Council three days later. The lawyers write that she did not provide the news media with the e-mails or attachments with confidential material. They do acknowledge that she sent...

"copies to ... her husband (the Pittsburgh Chief of Police until January 3, 2006) and her brother (the Police Bureau's current Chaplain). "

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote: "Thank you for the posting and providing easy access to the Complaint...[edited]*..."

* The post by Anonymous went on to include a critical reference to another reporter in town (by name), as well as a critique of the Ravenstahl administration.

A note to Anonymous: Sorry for the edit. As I wrote in an earlier blog entry, I'm experimenting with moderated comments for The Busman's Holiday. My gut instinct is to avoid playing host to anonymous critiques of colleagues, competitors, or public figures. There are other active online forums available for those discussions. I do welcome feedback of all kinds via personal e-mail; the nature of moderated comments here will evolve as we go. Thanks for your comment. –Bob Mayo