Michigan State Police Reigns in Conscientious Trooper

The Detroit Free Press ran an article today telling the story of a Michigan State Police (MSP) Trooper who was ran through the wringer by his own agency after doing what many would consider the 'right thing'.  Three years ago Trooper Craig Tuer revealed at an AA meeting, which he attended because he was worried about his alcohol usage while off-duty, that his fellow troopers had drank at various training sessions then drove state vehicles. 

Although, participants in AA sessions are sworn to confidentiality, one made a complaint and this led to a host of investigations by the MSP and what appears to be discriminatory behavior into Trooper Tuer, who later would confess he was the probable source of the leak.  While there doesn't seem to be anything comparable concerning those troopers alleged to have been driving state-taxpayer-funded vehicles while drunk, Tuer's simple admissions in a confidential setting has led into a series of disturbing revelations enumerated in the lawsuit, including:

the MSP forced Tuer to breach his confidentiality vow and name his AA sponsor

the launching of unwarranted internal affairs investigations by MSP into Tuer

the MSP ignored an arbitrator's call to put Tuer on active duty

the MSP invaded and violated Tuer's medical privacy

the MSP discriminated against Tuer by a perceived medical condition (verified by an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) investigation; the EEOC would later rule for Tuer on a separate complaint for harassment and discrimination for Tuer filing EEOC complaints).

the MSP acted in retaliation when he told other agencies that the MSP had a quota system that discriminated against minorities

Sadly, since the tragic shooting of MSP Trooper Butterfield in September 2013 which made us reflect about the dangers and importance of the job, the MSP has suffered a lot of blemishes to their image in Mason County and across the state.  Whether it be Trooper James Luttrell speeding through Mason County in a snowstorm for a wellness check and shooting a harmless retired school teacher in his own living room without warning, and the cover-up and skewing of facts that led to no accountability for those actions. 

Or it be Trooper Sammy Seymour who was stopped and tested as driving drunk in his Jetta going through the length of Ludington, who was instead found to have been driving an ORV drunk instead, a charge that allowed this drunk driver to retain his job including arresting those who did what he did.  The last four years up to this year's centennial celebration of the MSP has been a combination of misdeeds and overreactions, that have made the MSP's management look as criminal as they do in this case, where one of their own dons the mantel of the whistleblower and gets blackened and blued over trying to protect the MSP's reputation.

The full Detroit Free Press report follows.


State Trooper Alleges MSP Retaliated Against Him

LANSING — Michigan State Police Trooper Craig Tuer thought he was protected by a vow of confidentiality when he spoke at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting about how troopers in a special enforcement unit drank and drove state vehicles during training sessions.

But another attendee reported the infractions to the State Police, prompting an internal investigation and trouble for Tuer's colleagues.

Tuer, 48, of Warren said he felt so bad that he told his supervisor that he was the likely source of the embarrassing information and ensuing turmoil. Since then, the agency has taken away his gun and declared him unfit for duty.

Tuer is now suing for discrimination and retaliation under the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, saying the State Police is discriminating against him based on the perception that he is an alcoholic.

More: How problem cops stay on Michigan's streets

State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said Monday that the agency does not comment on pending litigation but "we did not discriminate against him," and "we plan to defend this matter and its procedures vigorously."

Tuer's Pinckney-based attorney, James Fett, said Tuer is not an alcoholic but attended AA meetings because he felt they helped when he was drinking too much off-duty. Under state and federal law, the Michigan State Police is not allowed to discriminate against Tuer based on the perception that he is an alcoholic — that is just as unlawful as it would be to discriminate against him if he were an alcoholic, yet able to perform his duties, Fett said.

The lawsuit, filed July 17 in Wayne County Circuit Court, also alleges the State Police forced Tuer to disclose his participation in AA and to breach the group's confidentiality vow by disclosing the identify of his AA sponsor, whom the State Police interviewed.

The suit also claims the State Police brought bogus internal-affairs allegations and investigations against Tuer, and ignored an arbitrator's ruling that he should be put back on active duty.

In January 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled the State Police violated Tuer's medical privacy and discriminated against him based on a perceived medical condition, records show. In a separate January 2016 determination, the EEOC determined Tuer was "denied promotion, assigned desk duty (and) harassed ... in retaliation for complaining of discrimination." And in June 2017, the EEOC found that the State Police had harassed and discriminated against Tuer for filing EEOC complaints.

More: AG: State trooper stole $170K for vacations, plastic surgery

Tuer, pictured left, a military veteran who became a trooper in 1995 and has received several commendations, started working in the Sex Offender Registry Enforcement Unit in 2010. He began occasionally attending AA meetings in 2012, according to the lawsuit.

At a January 2014 AA meeting, Tuer shared a story about out-of-town training sessions with the registry enforcement unit, at which some unit members drank alcohol and drove state vehicles.

"One of the tenets of AA is that things discussed at AA meetings are confidential and are not to be shared outside AA meetings," the lawsuit states.

"Tuer always honored the vow of confidentiality; unfortunately, one person did not."

When Tuer learned about an internal investigation into the training session claims, he surmised someone at his AA meeting was the source of the anonymous tip. He told his sergeant he was the likely source of the information — without disclosing that he revealed it at an AA meeting — and asked for a chance to apologize to his colleagues, according to the lawsuit.

Tuer's supervisor told him he should wait until "the smoke cleared."

It's unclear whether any of Tuer's colleagues were disciplined as a result of the investigation. 

In August 2014, Tuer was notified that he was the subject of an investigation into whether he was the source of the tip, the lawsuit says. On Aug. 20,  the State Police sustained the charge that Tuer was the source of the anonymous tip about drinking and driving by members of the Sex Offender Registration Enforcement Unit, the suit says.

Tuer then left a message with a lieutenant, saying he would be filing a complaint with the EEOC under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

He was asked to surrender his weapon and take sick leave, which he did, according to the lawsuit, which adds that "there was no legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for either request."

Tuer returned to work on Sept. 8, 2014, and filed a complaint with the EEOC.

Around that time, the State Police opened an internal affairs investigation to determine whether he had "dry fired" his weapon — producing a potentially intimidating clicking sound by pulling the trigger of his gun when there was no ammunition in the chamber — while leaving his August voice mail message with a State Police lieutenant. Tuer was cleared of that "frivolous" allegation in October 2014, the suit alleges.

In June 2015, the EEOC subpoenaed the State Police to turn over e-mails and other evidence related to Tuer's discrimination complaint, the suit alleges.

To avoid turning over the requested e-mails, the State Police began investigating Tuer for felony extortion based on a text message he had sent a supervisor 14 months earlier, about the supervisor having pornography on his computer, the suit alleges. The State Police withheld the e-mails on the basis that they were related to an ongoing criminal investigation, the suit alleges.

According to the suit, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office refused to issue charges on the alleged extortion case.

On June 18, 2015, Tuer's physician disabled him from work, "based on the hostile work environment created by defendant," the suit alleges.

Tuer's doctor authorized him to return to work effective Oct. 3, 2015. But that's when the State Police placed him on administrative leave, saying he was not fit for duty and pending an evaluation, the suit alleges.

A Chicago psychologist retained by the agency, Eric Ostrov, declared Tuer unfit for duty on April 5, 2016.

Among the reasons Ostrov cited was a 2004 off-duty incident in which Tuer was convicted of assault while intervening in an altercation inside a bar. According to the psychologist's report, Tuer acknowledged an alcohol problem in a September 2004 agreement under which the State Police could propose that he be fired if there were future violations related to alcohol abuse.

In February 2014, Ostrov noted, Tuer, who is recently divorced, received a counseling memo after jumping on a bed in a hotel room during out-of-town Sex Offender Registry Enforcement unit training in 2013, making a woman feel uncomfortable, according to the report. Tuer, the woman and other unit members in the hotel room had been drinking, according to the report.

According to Ostrov's report, Tuer also had made corruption allegations against certain State Police command officers.

"Tuer presents with a history of concerning or unacceptable behavior," wrote Ostrov, who said he felt threatened by e-mails and voice mail messages Tuer sent him after the examination.

But a psychiatrist retained by the Michigan State Police Troopers Association, Dr. Gerald Shiener of Birmingham, found Tuer fit for duty in June 2016.

"The patient's personality, demeanor and reported alcohol use is not consistent with an ongoing alcohol-use disorder," and "given his current stability in marriage, his abstinence from alcohol and participation in treatment, I find no impairment of his ability to return to police work without restriction," Shiener wrote.

In April 2016, the union filed a grievance on Tuer's behalf, alleging that the State Police abused the not-fit-for-duty provision of the contract between the agency and its troopers.

Arbitrator Paul Glendon, who upheld the troopers' grievance in a November 2016 opinion and ordered the State Police to put Tuer back to work, was highly critical of the Ostrov's report declaring Tuer unfit for duty.

Ostrov's report "was based largely on information unrelated to his ability to perform essential trooper functions"  and was not "an objective, reliable assessment," Glendon wrote.

The suit also claims that the State Police retaliated against Tuer in March 2016 for telling the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the news media that the agency has ticket quotas that have a discriminatory impact on minority motorists.

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We the People mostly never hear about all the instances of drunk cops, cops on drugs, addictions,domestics,thefts, rape, the pornography, Troopers pointing guns at other cops...,sleeping with High School kids,,, uuhh Yeah'  It happens every day. Most of that is filed away in a file where no one will ever see or, it never happened. LE is infected with rogue evil doers who are protected from accountability and transparency by the Blue Haze. A perfect environment for evil. We investigated ourselves and found No Wrongdoing... Yet, they pray for protection and guidance and safety.  They beseek Honor and recognition of manufactured Valour. Real heroes. They swore to an Oath yet they do not even follow the Constitution. These people are dangerous. I'd like to have a PPO out on all LE,lol. 

I don't buy into the mantra that all cops are bad; it almost sounds as ridiculous as those people who see them do evil on a video and commit unspeakable crimes and say that all cops are good.  Cops are good and bad people, and in a regimented system of a police agency they will become a reflection on that agency's leadership's values. 

When a police agency lacks public accountability and public transparency it also paves the way for them to become corrupt.  The MSP are an independent agency of law enforcement in Michigan, they are the only supervisors of themselves, when their leader goes bad, the whole agency follows.  They have taken paths in recent years that can only fairly be seen as corrupt and against the common interest.  I would say this is true with many of our local police too, but there are mechanisms to right those agencies.  

If we were all given a get out of jail or escape from consequences card I'm sure most would use it at one point or another. However, yes, there are cops that would proudly hang that card over the fireplace. Problem is,,, we don't know who to trust. So, that is where the broad brush comes in. If you can't tell one bad apple from another until you bite inside, it's too late. These officers should all have WARNING stickers applied to their uniforms.

Sounds like Tuer has a long road ahead of him. He had better CYA himself or he may find himself not only fired but locked up on a trumped up charge. I certainly wouldn't want to be on the bad side of the MSP with all of their resources available to frame any person they choose.  Good luck Tuer.

well all i can say is this cop should take up a job now begin a lawyer he might be a good one . lol


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