The city of Independence says it will open an investigation after a former Police Department employee sued the city and Chief of Police Brad Halsey, alleging several incidents of sexual harassment and assault.
The suit, filed this week in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges that the woman “was subjected to repeated instances of sexually charged an assaultive behavior.” Several of the incidents involved Halsey, a longtime department veteran who was promoted to chief in 2016.
The woman, who worked as a crime analyst with IPD and now works for the Blue Springs Police Department, says in the suit that she resigned her job because of the latest of the alleged incidents, which happened before Halsey became chief and involved two other department employees.
In a statement, the city said it will not speak on active litigation against the city or any employees, but says it has started an investigation “due to the serious nature of the allegations associated with this case.”
The investigation is to be conducted by an outside firm or agency, a city spokesperson said, and the findings will not be made public.
Halsey remains employed as chief, City Manager Zach Walker confirmed.
The woman’s allegations culminated with a May 2013 incident in which she said Halsey, a deputy chief at the time, assaulted her. He allegedly asked her to adjust his tie before putting his hands on her buttocks and pulling her into his crotch. She then fled, but he allegedly came to her desk and asked her if his pants were too tight, at which point she looked saw he had an erection.
Prior to that, Halsey allegedly sent her “numerous offensive texts” and asked her to send pictures of her in her swimsuit and of her breasts, using another term for the latter. In one message he sent a picture of another woman's breasts. Such behavior happened “on a regular basis,” according to the suit.
The woman alleges two other incidents. In 2007, a civilian employee slapped the her buttocks with a rolled up map and said “too big a target not to try to hit.” In 2009, a police major told her that another woman co-worker made him hot, but “You don't do it for me because you are too old.”
Both incidents were reported to a deputy chief.
In the suit, the woman requests a jury trial, a judgment for $500,000 and punitive damages.