A 42-year-old rookie Redmond Police officer was subjected to a culture of hazing and harassment, according to a lawsuit filed this month in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
Craig D. McClure was a Redmond officer from April 2017 until his termination for unlawfully pulling over and searching a woman in September.
McClure claims in a lawsuit seeking $750,000 that fellow officers repeatedly replayed dashcam footage of McClure sliding his patrol car into a ditch and posted an image in the police station of him and a superior officer’s spouse decorated with hand-drawn hearts.
“This hazing, harassment and innuendo were intended to intimidate (McClure) and falsely insinuate that (he) was engaged in a continuing sexual relationship with (the superior’s spouse),” the lawsuit states.
McClure was a reserve deputy for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office from 2012 until 2017, when he was hired by Redmond Police, and attended the state police academy. The lawsuit states he graduated first in his class.
After he returned from the academy, McClure was subjected to an “ongoing and continuous pattern of hazing, harassment and intimidation which created an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment,” the lawsuit states.
McClure reportedly complained about the alleged harassment to his superiors numerous times.
One told McClure he “hadn’t earned the right to talk” to the superior, according to the lawsuit.
A different supervisor allegedly instructed McClure to “learn to fit in better” and to avoid the bullying officers.
Eventually, McClure says, he was told there would be “repercussions” if he continued complaining.
In another alleged instance of harassment, McClure’s fellow officers in Redmond repeatedly played a video taken from his patrol car dashcam, of McClure’s car sliding into another police vehicle during a severe ice storm in Redmond.
McClure’s 12-month probationary period with Redmond Police concluded in January 2018 and he was moved to regular solo patrol. He was terminated following an internal investigation into a civil rights complaint surrounding a July 31, 2018, traffic stop.
That night, McClure reportedly pulled over a woman for making an illegal left turn. A drug detection dog allegedly alerted to the odor of drugs and McClure and two other officers thoroughly searched the vehicle. No drugs were found, but McClure decided, on a superior officer’s advice, to impound the woman’s vehicle.
The next day the woman went to the Redmond Police station and spoke to McClure’s sergeant, Aaron Blackledge, arguing that the reasons for the traffic stop weren’t valid so she shouldn’t have to pay the impound fee.
The next month, a Redmond captain finished his internal investigation recommending McClure’s termination. Days later, the state police academy — the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training — opened its own investigation into McClure’s separation from the Redmond Police Department. According to the lawsuit, the safety department cleared McClure of “any wrongdoing” in the traffic stop incident.
McClure’s attorneys, Michelle K. McClure and Richard N. Sieving, are seeking $500,000 in economic damages and $250,000 in noneconomic damages, for unlawful termination, sexual harassment, age discrimination and 11 other claims.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org