Oakland cop accuses city of retaliation for whistle blowing in legal claim

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Oakland is being sued by a police sergeant who says he's suffered after speaking up about bad behavior by other officers.

Sgt. Mike Gantt filed a complaint against the city of Oakland, the mayor, the city administrator, and two members of the police command staff. It alleges that he was retaliated against as a whistle blower. The city has declined to respond because it is a personnel matter. A claim is a precursor for a lawsuit.

Gantt has won all kinds of awards in his 27 years as an Oakland cop. He also says he's been targeted, harassed, disciplined for blowing the whistle against fellow cops behaving badly.

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"This is the top cop award that I won in 2001. I'm just tired of being made out to be the bad guy," said Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt. "Looking at my personnel file, for sending racist text messages and for hostile work environment."

Gantt was placed on leave earlier this year for a domestic dispute he had with his wife. He feels this was another excuse to further punish him.

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"The thin blue line is alive and well and once you step over that line you become an outcast," Gantt said.

Gantt says the abuse started when he was reassigned from the homicide division in 2004. The reason Gantt says is that he told superiors he thought Officer Brendan O'Brien murdered his wife Irma Huerta
Lopez when her death was ruled a suicide.

The sex scandal involving Jasime Absulin, alias Celeste Guap, that rocked East Bay law enforcement agencies stemmed from the subsequent suicide of O'Brien, who had a relationship with the young woman.

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Huerta Lopez's sister has always believed she was murdered by O'Brien. She spoke to ABC7 News by phone Tuesday.

She said, "the sex scandal is more important to the city and police than murder."

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City council member Rebecca Kaplan says the department needs an overhaul. "It's become clear to me it can't be a question of punishing one or two people, that we need to fundamentally change the culture and accountability," Kaplan said.

Gantt says all he wants to do is clear his name and reputation.
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