EXCLUSIVE: Fired Vallejo police lieutenant questions reason he was let go, shares his story

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A long-time Vallejo Lieutenant who was one of two lieutenants the department fired last week is sharing his side of the story. Lieutenant Herman Robinson spoke to ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow in a story you'll see Only On 7.

Robinson has been with the Vallejo Police Department for more than 47 years.

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"I've worked with over half the people that have ever worked for the Vallejo Police Department and I've seen three generations of police officers come through that building," said Robinson.

Robinson says last week the department fired him for forwarding five emails to former Vallejo Police Captain John Whitney.

"It was like electronic cop talk," said Robinson.

The department fired Captain Whitney in August of 2019. Robinson says after Whitney no longer worked for the department he sent him one email from his work account and forwarded four from his work account to his personal account that he then sent to Whitney.

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"It was just to keep John informed of high profile incidents that were occurring within the city of Vallejo. John is still connected with the Vallejo Police Department, he has a lot of friends here and he liked to know what was happening within the city of Vallejo," said Robinson.

In August, Robinson says an Internal Affairs investigator told Robinson his emails were being looked at due to a suspected leak to the media.

"While they were searching my city cell phone they found where I had been forwarding emails to my personal yahoo account," said Robinson.

He was put on paid administrative leave in January.

"They stripped me of my badge, my gun, my ID card and they escorted me out of the building," said Robinson.

Then fired April 1.

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"A lot of individuals on the administrative end of the building feel my best years are behind me and that I should have retired years ago," said Robinson.

"Age obviously is a factor in my termination," he continued.

He and his attorney Julia Fox also suspect a support letter he wrote for Captain Whitney that is now a part of Whitney's lawsuit against the city and the police department is also a factor in why he was fired.

"I knew John to be a stellar individual and I felt that I had to come forward and voice my opinion that John was a decent individual that should not have been terminated," said Robinson.

"This is a termination to either punish Herman as collateral damage for his relationship with John Whitney who has fallen out of favor with the department or to put him out to pasture because he will not go quietly on his own," said Fox.

Robinson, whose father also worked for the Vallejo Police Department, says he has no timeline for retirement.

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"The support from within the community has been overwhelming," said Robinson.

"I still live in this town my soul is in this town," he continued.

"I still believe that police work is a people business and I still think that treating people fairly is the right thing to do," said Robinson.

Spokespeople for the Vallejo Police Department and the city said they could not comment on confidential personnel matters.
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