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Wichita Metropolis Supervisor Robert Layton stated he has no plans to resign after Wichita Police Division leaders despatched a blistering letter to Metropolis Corridor on Monday threatening a lawsuit if he didn’t instantly step down.

“No, I’m not going to resign,” Layton instructed The Eagle on Monday. He additionally pushed again towards the letter, which alleges a sample of misconduct, collusion and cover-up involving him, Human Sources Director Chris Bezruki and the Fraternal Order of Police, calling the fees “outrageous and inaccurate.”

“There’s so many issues which might be being thrown out, and with only a fast assessment, a lot of this stuff are simply not correct,” Layton stated. “I don’t wish to give it credibility by going point-by-point, however it bothers me that these sorts of allegations may be made after which given credibility as if they’re reality and truth.”

Lawyer James Thompson despatched the letter Monday to the town on behalf of former Chief Gordon Ramsay’s government staff — Deputy Chiefs Jose Salcido, Chet Pinkston and former Deputy Chief Wanda Givens — who’ve been criticized for his or her dealing with of an investigation into racist and inappropriate textual content messages despatched by members of the SWAT staff.

The letter requests a $2.1 million payout to Salcido, Pinkston and Givens to settle out of courtroom. To keep away from a lawsuit, they requested for Layton and Bezruki to instantly resign and recuse themselves from any disciplinary proceedings involving Salcido or Pinkston.

Amongst a tranche of allegations, the letter says “there stay small pockets of corruption, sexism, homophobia, racism, and violence working inside the Wichita Police Division and Metropolis of Wichita,” and that “Metropolis Supervisor Bob Layton, Human Sources Director Chris Bezruki, the Fraternal Order of Police and others resisted, or outright defied, actions by the chief workers (of the Police Division) to deal with these points.”

Ramsay’s management staff has come beneath heightened scrutiny after it did not self-discipline the officers concerned within the textual content message scandal. Three officers have been later suspended by Interim Chief Lem Moore and Layton after an Eagle investigation into inaction by the town. A committee report from the town supervisor’s workplace blamed police management — together with Ramsay, Salcido and Pinkston — for mishandling the interior investigation.

Ramsay’s government staff says within the letter that they didn’t self-discipline the officers as a result of they “wished to keep away from the humiliation” of being undermined by the town’s human sources supervisor.

They’re looking for a public apology from the town of Wichita and declare they’re being scapegoated.

The police leaders accused Layton of mendacity when he instructed Metropolis Council members and The Eagle that he didn’t know concerning the textual content messages till Feb. 25, the day after the Citizen Evaluate Board initially acquired a briefing on how the Skilled Requirements Bureau dealt with the case. Layton stated he doesn’t keep in mind being instructed by Ramsay or anybody else concerning the textual content messages earlier than February.

The letter alleges that Bezruki acquired items and costly meals in change for favorable therapy of the union in contract negotiations and when union members have been introduced up on disciplinary complaints.

Layton stated an investigation into Bezruki didn’t discover any inappropriate relationship or items from the Fraternal Order of Police.

“We have now not discovered any advantage to that allegation,” Layton instructed The Eagle. “And we requested for proof that will assist us assessment that, and we now have not been capable of receive that.”

The letter additionally suggests Layton and Bezruki knew one another earlier than he was employed because the HR director and that Bezruki was the one applicant for the job.

Layton stated he didn’t know Bezruki earlier than he utilized and that Bezruki was one in every of six candidates for the job.

The letter outlines a number of situations alleging Bezruki overruled Ramsay’s management staff on officer disciplinary motion earlier than and after Ramsay’s staff determined to not pursue self-discipline for the textual content messages.

“Bezruki’s reversals despatched a transparent message to the chief workers that Bezruki managed self-discipline over the officers, and the FOP managed Bezruki,” the submitting states.

Layton stated “that characterization is just unfaithful.”

One alleged occasion of Bezruki undermining police management is within the case of Sgt. Maurice Mitchell, who was charged with misdemeanor battery in September 2020 after he slapped the buttocks of a feminine co-worker throughout a coaching train.

The submitting states that, on the advice of Givens, Ramsay demoted Mitchell from sergeant to officer and a non-supervisory place after an inner investigation. The police union appealed the demotion.

“Regardless of Mr. Mitchell’s admission as a part of the diversion course of, Bezruki, as HR director, repeated on at the very least three events that not solely was ‘slapping the ass’ of a feminine officer not a sexual battery, he declared it was not even sexual harassment,” the letter states.

The claimants say police management tried to mediate the matter however Bezruki, “unilaterally, or with the approval of Layton, reinstated Mitchell to sergeant and reversed the choice of government workers.”

Layton wouldn’t talk about the personnel matter with The Eagle, aside from to say Bezruki didn’t make the choice to reinstate Mitchell.

“That doesn’t precisely replicate the ultimate decision of the case,” Layton stated. ” Chris (Bezruki) didn’t make the ultimate resolution on this case. It got here out of the mediation and a settlement of mediation.”

Givens filed a grievance with the town towards Bezruki after the incident, however the submitting alleges that the HR director refused to fulfill with a metropolis investigator over the course of a number of months.

Quickly after, Givens retired from the division “relatively than proceed subjecting herself to continued discrimination and a hostile work setting,” the letter says.

Two different inaccuracies encompass the choice of an interim chief and a seek for a everlasting substitute for Ramsay, Layton stated.

The letter states Layton “is telling candidates he desires them to come back in and self-discipline Deputy Chief Salcido and Deputy Chief Pinkston.” Layton stated he has not talked to any candidates for the chief job and “that was by no means our intention.”

The letter additionally questions the hiring of Troy Livingston, who was named interim chief by Layton final week.

Livingston served as a deputy chief beneath Ramsay till 2019, when he retired.

The letter says Livingston, whereas a deputy chief, “conspired with the FOP and Bezruki to rehire (an officer Ramsay had fired in 2017).”

It claims “Livingston’s earlier employment with WPD ended when it was urged he retire due to poor efficiency and he finally had his entry card revoked as he was bodily escorted out of the constructing.”

Layton stated he’s unfamiliar with the specifics of the Livingston’s involvement within the 2017 reinstatement. However, if Ramsay’s government staff had an issue with it, they didn’t embrace it in his worker evaluations, which have been “very constructive,” Layton stated.

“I don’t know why the try and solid some kind of aspersions on his fame, however it’s not honest,” Layton stated.

“One other (inaccuracy) I can speak about is their try and malign Troy Livingston,” Layton stated. “We reviewed Troy’s evaluations which might be in his file, and Troy acquired very constructive evaluations, together with the final one he acquired earlier than he left. He stated he was not escorted out of the constructing.”

Regardless of the general public struggle, Layton stated he stays assured in work of the police division.

“We have now a fairly skilled division, and their day-to-day actions usually are not going to be swayed by some type of dialog on the administrative degree. They’ve fairly severe work to do day in and day trip in public security, and I feel that’s what individuals are going to be targeted on within the division.”

Layton stated he seems to be ahead to a assessment of his actions and the actions of different metropolis leaders by Jensen Hughes, a consulting agency employed to look into the town’s policing issues.

“What’s vital right here is that we now have to be taught from what’s occurred over the previous few years within the police division,” Layton stated. “We’ve introduced in a nationally acknowledged agency to assessment police operations and tradition and in addition the checks and balances that we now have in place for not simply the police division however different departments.”

This story was initially printed September 19, 2022 8:20 PM.


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