EOO Backs Up Officer's Claim of Hostile Work Environment

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Meridian, Miss. Newscenter 11 has obtained a copy of a finding from Meridian's equal employment officer that found "enough evidence" to verify a police officer's claim of an "offensive, intimidating, and threatening" work environment by Police Chief James Lee.

However, we don't know whether Lee has actually been disciplined over this matter.

City Councilwoman Barbara Henson says she cannot confirm a suspension of Chief Lee at this time.

"Last Friday, I heard that it was pending," said Henson. "But today, I do not know. I just know that last Friday, I was told by a member of the administration that it was forthcoming."

Meridian Mayor Percy Bland has denied the chief is suspended. He told Newscenter 11 he will not be issuing any statements regarding this matter.

Chief administrative officer, Mike McGrevey, also says the chief has not been suspended. In fact, the chief did report to work as scheduled.

"While personnel matters are confidential, I can say there have been no actions taken against Chief Lee," McGrevey said.

SGT J.C. Lewis, a veteran Meridian police officer, wrote a letter to Meridian's EOO dated 12/31/2013 in which he alleged that Chief Lee cursed, threatened and humiliated shift commanders in a more than 2-hour meeting.

Equal Opportunity Officer Stacey Thompson wrote a letter dated 02/03/2014 in which she stated that a investigation and review of the complaint found merit to Lewis' allegations.

"I concluded that verbal comments, tone of voice, and repetitive use of profound (sic) language is enough evidence to cause a hostile or offensive environment," wrote Thompson. "Steps have been implemented to support the Executive administration to understand proper verbal communication with its employees."

"Well, I'm totally unfamiliar with it," said Henson. "I have no idea what she's speaking about, but I'm sure that if she wrote it, that it's valid."

Chief James Lee
SGT J.C. Lewis

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