Asheville Police Department Officer Mark Byrd, a 15-year veteran officer, filed a federal civil lawsuit on Jan. 17 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Asheville. The suit is an amended version of a lawsuit Byrd initially filed in October 2013. Read Byrd’s lawsuit here.
In the court papers, Byrd says he was systematically harassed, discriminated against and retaliated against because of actions he took in publicly criticizing the Police Department last year and because of actions his wife, a former officer, took to call out a supervisor for sexual harassment.
Byrd’s wife, Cherie Byrd, received a $52,000 settlement in 2011 for her lawsuit against the city of Asheville and former supervisor Eric Lauffer. (One of the infamous communications from Lauffer to Byrd: “I must licky you.”) Read background here.
Last year, Mark Byrd publicly criticized the Asheville Police Department for its handling of a car wreck involving the son of Police Chief William Anderson. (Known as the case of Dianty and the crashed car.) Read background here.
Byrd says that he and his wife (while she was still working at the Police Department) were systematically messed with by Police Department personnel. To wit:
-Byrd says Chief Anderson and at least one other officer referred to Byrd as “an organizational terrorist.”
-Byrd says Police Department staff interfered with his ability to take family leave after his wife gave birth to their child by doing things like assigning him be to work as the officer on duty for extra work like overseeing a downtown Asheville protest of genetically modified foods.
-Byrd says he was disciplined for a phone prank even the though the prankee didn’t care and even though pranks are apparently a regular thing inside the Asheville Police Department.
-Byrd says that the Police Department didn’t communicate with him about the death of a fellow officer, Robert Bingaman, last October after Bingaman died in a single-car crash on the Bowen Bridge. Byrd, a former partner of Bingaman’s and supervisor of his Traffic Safety Unit, said he was ignored by one officer at the wreck scene. Byrd also says he was excluded in the planning and execution of Bingaman’s funeral, and was not allowed to sit with the Traffic Safety Unit at the funeral.
There’s more. Click over to read it all:
Asheville Police Department Officer Mark Byrd’s lawsuit: byrd_lawsuit_2014_apd
Asheville Police Chief William Anderson’s July 12, 2013, email to command staff: byrd_lawsuit_apd_2014_anderson_email
Asheville Police Chief William Anderson’s July 13, 2013, email to all police employees: byrd_lawsuit_apd_2014_anderson_email_2