Draper's former police chief, who was fired from his job in November, is now suing the city.
Bryan Roberts filed a lawsuit this week in 3rd District Court against Draper city and several John Does claiming that lies and defamatory statements made about him cost him the Provo police chief job, and then his job as Draper's chief after he complained to city officials about it.
Roberts claims that while state officials were conducting a background check on him as he prepared to accept an offer to become Provo's new police chief, at least two Draper officers provided "false and defamatory information" about him, the lawsuit states.
"Because of the false and defamatory information, Mr. Roberts was forced to withdraw from consideration for the position of police chief with Provo city on or about August 9, 2017," according to the lawsuit.
After withdrawing his consideration to become Provo's chief, Roberts continued to have discussions with Draper's city manager "regarding the ongoing false and defamatory statements about him," the lawsuit states, and learned that the two officers who allegedly gave defamatory statements "openly boasted about their involvement in providing the false information."
Roberts "complained multiple times, in good faith" to the mayor and city manager that the officers "had violated Draper city’s policies prohibiting insubordination, engaging in conduct causing disruption in the workplace and improper release of personnel information about Mr. Roberts to nonemployees," the lawsuit states.
Then in November, by a vote of 4-0 with one councilwoman abstaining, the Draper City Council approved a resolution "terminating the employment" of Roberts. The resolution noted that Roberts, who had been Draper's chief since 2012, "is an at-will employee subject to termination with or without cause at any time" and "the Draper City Council finds it is in the best interest of the city to terminate Bryan Roberts’ employment, without cause."
Just eight months earlier, Roberts was recognized by the City Council for being named Chief of the Year for a midsized agency by the Utah Police Chiefs Association.
Roberts believes Draper officials violated the Utah Protection of Public Employees Act, which prohibits an employer from firing an employee because that employee "communicates in good faith … a violation or suspected violation of a law."
The lawsuit also mentions that while Roberts was chief, he "became aware of certain conduct by certain police officer which he believed was illegal, unethical, and/or involved the waste and/or misuse of public funds, property and/or manpower."
He also stated that two former officers were the ones who contacted the current officers who allegedly gave the defamatory statements. But the lawsuit does not state if any of those officers were the one that Roberts had concerns about.
Draper spokeswoman Meridene Alexander declined comment Wednesday, citing pending litigation.
Contributing: Katie McKellar
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