CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police officer is suing the city, claiming he blew the whistle on his boss, leading to retaliation.
Tony Hernandez says he accomplished his lifelong dream of becoming a Chicago police officer in 1998 and worked his way up the ranks, becoming part of the department’s narcotics unit.
“It’s very difficult to get into the narcotics unit,” he told CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot. “It’s a very well-sought-after position.”
Hernandez says his career changed drastically in 2011 after completing some remodeling work on his sergeant’s summer home, on his off time. Hernandez says the sergeant didn’t want to pay for all the work.
So, instead, for the balance owed, Hernandez said the sergeant “put down that I was working for the police department when I was actually in Sturgis, Michigan, working on his summer home.”
Hernandez says he reported the alleged wrongdoing to his superiors and he was told that they ”didn’t want to be involved in our personal business.”
He then went to the Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, which found the evidence “overwhelming,” Hernandez said.
However, rather than getting a resolution, he was met with retaliation, he said.
“Everyday, I went to work, I felt my life was threatened,” Hernandez said. “I didn’t just have to worry about the criminals on the street. I also had to worry about who was going to back me up from the police department.”
At the direction of the police union, Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the city and his sergeant.
Since taking unpaid leave in 2013, Hernandez has been waiting for the police pension board to hear his case for medical disability.
The hearing is finally taking place on Friday.
“A city psychologist and a psychiatrist have told me it is not safe for me to go back on the streets,” he said.
Hernandez’s attorney, Cindy Tsai, said Hernandez “followed the department’s procedures and now he is the one that has been retaliated against.'”
Hernandez has been on unpaid leave since 2013 and the police pension board will finally hear his case for medical disability on Friday.
Meanwhile, the sergeant is still getting paid, while serving desk duty.
The sergeant’s attorney, the police union nor the city would comment on the case.