ATLANTA - An Atlanta police detective plans to appeal a judge’s decision in a whistleblower lawsuit, in which the detective claimed she was retaliated against for blowing the whistle on other officers stealing during a crime bust.
Charron Walters, a 16 year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, say the incident stemmed from a 2011 chop shop investigation on Regina Drive.
“I’m trained to recognize crime, I know what I recognized that day, they asked me about it, I spoke up about it,” Detective Charron Walters told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
Walters says, during the search warrant, she saw investigators steal car parts, from a truck.
“They asked me specifically who did you see take the items, and I had to tell them who I saw take the lights,” Walters said.
Since, reporting the allegations to the Office of Professional Standards, Walters says she has faced backlash.
“When you see people mean mugging you, they are not talking to you, because you are the snitch, you are going to tell,’ Walter said.
Walters said she’s been transferred four times, since reporting the allegation, and is now off the streets on a desk job, filling open records requests.
According to an open records request, several officers involved in the bust were given written reprimands for failing to ensure evidence was “properly documented and turned into the Property Seciton.” The report does not mention the thefts directly.
In a summary judgement decision, Fulton County Superior Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams, wrote: “The court find that Plaintiff’s testimony failed to establish the essential elements of a retaliation claim. “
Walter’s attorneys are filing a motion to set aside the summary judgement, claiming that they were never served a copy of the motion for summary judgement.
“We are really going to have to fight our way through the legal system,” said Jennifer Wright, one of Walters’ attorneys, “We have good officers out there, officers that want to do a good job and we need the courts to support that.”
Ken Allen, the president of the Atlanta police union, says officers often have a difficult time proving that “transfers” are retaliation.
“I think that has been something that has been rumored for years in the Atlanta Police Department that sometimes that occurs,” Allen said. “It is very hard to prove it with the turnover rate that we have and the vacancy rate that come up in the other investigatory positions.”
The City of Atlanta told Channel 2 Action News that they cannot comment on pending litigation.
“It creates a level of fear within the department, if it is fear based people are afraid of speaking out on other situations that creates corruption,” Walters said.