According to our friends at NewsChannel9, Adam Rose, a former East Ridge Police officer, has filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired for speaking up about unfair treatment and safety concerns in the department.
He also says an investigation into an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with an 18-year-old high school student before his termination found that he’d broken no policies and committed no crimes.
Rose said in the lawsuit that he was an officer with East Ridge PD from August 2016 to November 2018. He was selected for the SWAT team in November 2017.
The lawsuit says since Rose’s hiring, the department “has always failed to provide its officers with appropriate equipment and necessary training,” including its SWAT team. Some of the items he noted were expired tactical plates for officers’ torsos, helmets not designed for dangerous tasks, and communications and weapons that fell short of National Tactical Officer’s Association standards.
He also says the city, “has always treated its officers differently allowing some officers to obtain advantages over others with respect to, but not limited to, pay, promotion, shift work, and so on.”
Rose says when he voiced his concerns on these issues, the administration did nothing to discipline officers who threatened him in response to his complaints.
The lawsuit says Rose was instrumental in organizing a union in February and March of 2018 to address those concerns, and after that he says he was “threatened and subjected to animosity” by the department. Rose says he did not stop lodging complaints with the appropriate supervisors and chain of command, and became the union’s vice president.
On October 26, 2018, Rose says he was notified of an internal investigation claiming he had an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old high school student, a difference of 11 years between them. The two had met as co-workers while he worked a side-job at a local Food City.
According to the lawsuit, the investigating detective found no state laws had been broken, and therefore he couldn’t be held criminally liable. The lawsuit says there was no prosecutable offense either, so he couldn’t be indicted, and he hadn’t broken any policies in either the department or city. The detective recommended “no action be taken against Officer Rose.”
In spite of the investigation’s findings, Rose says City Manager Kenneth Custer fired him in November 2018. Custer told us that Rose had “engaged in conduct contrary to the community standards of honesty, justice and/or good moral values,” going against his sworn oath as a police officer.
In December, Rose appealed his termination. “If I’m willing to date an adult, I’m not at the school doing anything and there’s nothing inappropriate going on while on duty, I think my personal life is my business, as well as hers,” Rose said during the personnel meeting.
Rose says his firing violated the Tennessee Public Protection Act, and that his treatment was in violation of the Tennessee Public Employee Political Freedom Act. He also says he was denied the right to due process, and he was defamed.
He is asking for $450,000 in compensatory damages and $450,000 in punitive damages.