Kansas employment news: $6.5M awarded to wrongly terminated Kansas City cop

Legal news for Kansas employment attorneys. A Jackson County jury awarded a former Kansas City police officer $6.5 million in damages.

Employment attorneys alert- A former Kansas City police officer was awarded millions for wrongful termination by a Jackson County jury.

Kansas City, KS—A wrongly terminated Kansas City police officer was awarded $6.5 million by a Jackson County jury on Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The jury ruled in favor of all three of the plaintiff’s claims, including allegations that he was fired because of he is African-American, as reported by the Kansas City Star.

Danny Holmes sued the Board of Police Commissioners for wrongful termination after he was fired in 2008. After an extensive eight-day trial, with just over two hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Holmes with three times the amount of money that he originally sued for in lost wages and pension benefits.

The suit stemmed from an alleged botched murder case that labeled him as a rouge cop. Court documents revealed that in 2003 Holmes and his partner were following a detective’s instructions when they sought out to find information regarding a missing man. The duo went to a midtown apartment of a suspected drug dealer, when upon entering they saw another man with a gun nearby with clear indications of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Holmes later testified that he placed the mans gun in a freezer for safety purposes while they questioned the suspected drug dealer. After having a telephone conversation with the detective, Holmes left the gun and got out of the apartment all following the detectives requests. But before leaving, Holmes grabbed a box of bullets and took it with them. Holmes reportedly alerted his sergeant about the incident and was told to follow the detective’s orders. Another sergeant instructed Holmes to keep the bullets and told him not to mention the gun or entering the apartment on his report. Three years later the bullets came to light as prosecutors prepared to try the suspected drug dealer for the death of the missing man, whose body turned up the following day after the incident. The murder charge was ultimately dismissed. Holmes’ partner and the detective who contradicted Holmes’ version of events were only suspended from duty for a short period of time.

Holmes was put on unpaid leave in 2006. In early 2008, the police board voted to fire him for his actions pertaining to the case. The state plans to appeal the ruling.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Kansas employment lawyers.