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Officer resigns over alleged mishandling of complaint

By Staff | Jul 27, 2016

In a letter filled with anger and frustration at how a sexual harassment complaint was handled, a 35-year veteran in law enforcement submitted his resignation from the Sanibel Police Department.

Kerry Griner resigned in the letter written on June 13, saying he felt his integrity was impugned when he attempted to bring up the accusation in the department.

Griner said he was accused of fanning the flames of the controversy by speaking out against the alleged mistreatment of a female officer by two higher-ranking officers, saying the department may have committed a federal offense by ignoring the initial complaint.

“They made this determination with no investigation, no statements taken, and no action of any kind,” Griner wrote. “They brought in the police officer I was trying to help and told her there was no sexual harassment, but that I inflamed and caused the entire incident.”

“The worst thing you can do is leave the officer who brought forth the allegationfeeling as if they had done something wrong,” Griner wrote.

Griner said he went to Police Chief Bill Tomlinson, but he had “made it clear he had no interest in his concerns.” He also said Tomlinson made derogatory comments about veteran officers under his command.

“The leadership of this department questioned my integrity and judgement, but the same peoplehave repeatedly shown poor judgement and knowledge of the law themselves,” Griner wrote.

A female officer has filed a sexual harassment complaint against a fellow officer. An investigation is now under way.

Tomlinson declined to comment, as a third-party internal affairs investigation, being conducted by an attorney, is underway, as state law mandates.

“I don’t want to say anything that could undermine the investigation. It’s a fairness issue that protects all parties involved,” Tomlinson said. “Once the internal investigation is over, they will give their recommendations and say who did or didn’t do something. We’re not hiding anything and all statements will be made public once we’ve concluded.”