VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- There are new allegations of misconduct within the Vallejo Police Department. This time, from a former captain. The case is one that made national headlines; a kidnapping the Vallejo Police Department mistakenly called a hoax. ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow has covered this story for five years and broke the exclusive update.
The allegations are in a claim filed against Vallejo by former Police Captain John Whitney. Whitney says the city retaliated against him for speaking out against misconduct within the department, including the 2015 Denise Huskins' kidnapping Vallejo kidnapping police initially called a hoax.
In the summer of 2015, after Matthew Muller had been arrested and charged with kidnapping Huskins, Woodrow asked Whitney if the Vallejo Police Department was too quick to call it a hoax?
"I don't think so based on some of the evidence we had at the time," said Whitney.
"I think it's important that we wait before we look at ourselves and figure out exactly what the final outcome is," he continued.
Three months prior, Vallejo Police Department Public information officer Lt. Kenny Park gave a scathing press conference in which he called Huskins a liar.
"The fact that we've essentially wasted all of these resources for really nothing is upsetting," said Lt. Park at the time.
Only it turns out, Huskins and her then boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, hadn't lied. Muller was linked to the crime after a foiled attempt in Dublin and subsequent arrest by the feds in South Lake Tahoe.
He's currently serving a 40-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges. He now faces state charges, including rape, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Huskins and Quinn got married and settled with the city of Vallejo for $2.5 million.
But their story has a new twist. The claim filed March 24th of this year against Vallejo details Captain John Whitney's August 26th, 2019 discharge from the Vallejo Police department. Whitney alleges he was retaliated against for speaking out on a variety of misconduct issues, including Huskins'
According to the claim, former VPD Chief Andrew Bidou directed Whitney to delete text messages on his cellphone so that they would not be downloadable during the litigation involving Huskins' kidnapping and conceal the fact that Chief Bidou told Lt. Kenny Park to "burn that b***h."
In an exclusive recording for ABC7 News, Huskins shared the following statement: "Sadly, it was just another moment with Vallejo Police of being shocked, yet not surprised. I certainly didn't have to hear those words spoken out loud to feel that sentiment every second I was at the police station. And it was just one example of too many where I was dehumanized and vilified by Vallejo Police. It's truly terrifying to come face to face with such blind hatred. I guess in their eyes, if you're a woman, you're just another 'bit**' to burn; if you're a person of color, you're another 'criminal' to kill. It's horrific, and the community of Vallejo deserves better."
This new information comes as scrutiny of the Vallejo Police Department grows. The Attorney General's Office is currently investigating the destruction of evidence in Sean Monterrosa's fatal shooting, specifically the destruction of the windshield an officer fired the fatal shot through.
The ABC7 News I-Team reached out to the Vallejo Police Department, the Vallejo City Attorney's office, former Chief Andrew Bidou and Lt. Kenny Park.
On Wednesday morning, the Vallejo Police Department sent the I-Team a response that says, "The City takes any claims or credible information regarding potential misconduct seriously and we will follow up with the appropriate investigatory measures, as well as take appropriate action based on information provided. Finally, as it relates to former Captain John Whitney, the City cannot comment on personnel matters and/or ongoing legal actions."