A former Sterling Heights, Michigan animal control officer was awarded a nearly $1.1-million verdict by a Macomb County Circuit Court jury in a civil lawsuit that alleged Sterling Heights police retaliated against her because she complained about a colleague who she said harassed her.
Ann Marie Rogers was awarded the damages after a trial that ended Monday. She filed a complaint against the city and former Police Chief David Vinson. “She feels very vindicated,” Rogers’ attorney, Deborah Gordon, said Tuesday. The city issued a statement saying it is “disappointed with the verdict and believes it is not supported by the evidence presented at trial and therefore excessive. The city and its insurance carrier are reviewing all grounds to mount an appeal.”
Rogers was hired in 2003 and received a Civilian Employee of the Year award in 2006. She said in May 2007 she tried to talk with police about the conduct of her coworker, with whom she had a brief relationship. The coworker was suspended without pay then resigned, according to the complaint. After he resigned, Rogers was charged with violating departmental policy regarding euthanizing animals and other violations — charges the lawsuit alleges were filed in retaliation for her filing a police report and complaining internally about her former coworker.
Rogers said that Vinson would drop criminal charges if she resigned. She didn’t and was fired in August 2007. Criminal charges were filed but dismissed without objection by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, according to a malicious prosecution lawsuit Rogers filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
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