Three WPD members demand settlement and resignation from city leaders
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Three of the WPD's highest ranking members are teaming up and demanding a more than $2,000,000 and the resignation of two top city leaders.
"In my research into this, I have never seen anything where you had this level of leadership stepping forward in unison to say, this is wrong," said attorney James Thompson.
Thompson announced Monday he's officially representing WPD Deputy Chiefs Jose Salcido and Chester Pinkston, and former Deputy Chief Wanda Givens in demanding the city pay them more than $2,000,000.
"We want to have Bob Layton who the city manager of Wichita, and Chris Bezruki, who is a human resources director, we want them to resign or we want the City Council to terminate them," said Thompson.
Thompson says it's all on the heels of a number of accusations about the culture of city leadership, like dismissing or covering up several cases of racial discrimination, and sexual harassment.
He says one of the biggest examples is the racist and violent texts made public in March involving some WPD officers. He says the deputy chiefs wanted harsh punishments, but Bezruki said no to ruining their public reputation.
"You can have the best staff in charge of WPD," said Thompson. "But if that staff has been constantly overridden by best rookie, who we believe is in bed with the Fraternal Order of Police, then you can't enact any kind of punishment. You can't have any kind of discipline or control."
Now, the demands are on the shoulders of the Wichita City Council, if any settlement ends up on the table, it will have to vote on it.
It's a situation councilman Jeff Blubaugh says he'll have to know a whole lot more about before voting.
"It's something I've never seen before on council, especially for, you know, three members of our second highest leadership within the police department to circle back and make these type of accusations against the city manager," Blubaugh said. "This obviously raises a few questions that I would like to see answered."
City Manager Bob Layton responded by saying:
“I have just reviewed the letter prepared by James Thompson. The allegations made are outrageous. I have full confidence in the consultant, Jensen Hughes, who was hired to investigate relationships among the Police Department, Human Relations Department, Law Department and City Manager’s Office. I have nothing to hide and look forward to the full review and determination of these allegations by the consultant or a court of law should Mr. Thompson decide to proceed with a legal filing.”
You can read the full letter of demands below.