CHARLESTON -- A former Charleston police officer claims he suffered years of harassment, ending in the loss of his job after he divorced the cousin of the police chief’s wife and engaged in a romantic relationship with a fellow officer.
Christopher Thompson and his wife Jill Robin Thompson filed a lawsuit July 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the city of Charleston.
In their complaint, the Thompsons allege Christopher lost his job after a fellow police officer with whom he once was romantically involved rose in the ranks of the department and began spreading rumors about him reached the press.
When Cathy Peal became captain of the Charleston Police Department in June 2012, she began threatening him and his wife in retaliation for Christopher ending his relationship with Peal in 1995, according to the complaint.
Christopher claims he faced additional harassment after he divorced Joyce Elmore Thompson in October 2008. Joyce is the cousin of Charleston Chief of Police Brent Webster’s wife, according to the complaint.
For instance, following the divorce, Christopher was forced to change shifts. Instead of working four 10-hour days, he went to five eight-hour days in April 2011, the suit states. In addition, he was transferred from working property and evidence to working community service, the complaint says.
In October 2011, Christopher was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant for transporting his wife a small distance in his police cruiser, even though it is common practice for police to transport family members in their cruisers, according to the complaint.
The harassment was not limited to Christopher, as he contends his wife, Jill Thompson, was also exposed to it in February of 2012 when Cathy Peal pushed another officer’s wife into her and called her a deragatory term.
In turn, Jill Thompson filed a lawsuit against Cathy Peal, according to the complaint. Following the lawsuit, the Thompsons claim Jill Thompson received a text threatening her and her husband with a made-up story that would hit the papers, the suit states.
In his complaint, Christopher Thompson alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.
He seeks lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees and costs. He is also asking that he be reinstated to his prior rank.
He is being represented by attorney Andrew J. Katz of The Katz Working Families Law Firm in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 14-C-1155