A popular Michigan police officer is suing his chief, claiming he was demoted for questioning the mishandling of an investigation about two fellow officers who allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old runaway girl.
Saline police officer Don Lupi had “expressed concerns to persons in city government about two fellow officers allegedly having sexual relations with a minor female who was known to the department as a runaway (and would accompany officers on ‘ride-alongs), and her friend,” the lawsuit states.
Lupi, an 18-year veteran of the department, spending 13 years as a detective, faced severe backlash after reporting the misconduct, especially since one of the parties was a sergeant and therefore his superior.
“Be careful of Lupi, he’s a snake and a rat,” the suit asserts that the sergeant told other officers. “Make a mistake and he keeps it on file.”
In 2013, the detective applied for a promotion to sergeant, and believes that he was passed over due to his complaints in the past, he was also demoted to road patrol in May.
Lupi has good reason to believe that the demotion was a direct penalty for his whistleblowing, as it came directly after he met with Chief Larry Hrinik and City Manager Todd Campbell about the complaints.
Following the meeting, where Lupi went into detail regarding his concerns, Hrinik reportedly said, “Are you done? Starting next rotation you are back on the road.”
Despite the fact that Lupi has been involved in every major Saline police investigation, MLive reported, and seemingly has an outstanding record, police departments seem to place higher value on covering up one another’s crimes than being decent human beings, like a mob.
City officials have not commented on the suit except to say the alleged sex scandal was investigated and unfounded.
Whenever there is a new case of brutality, a new unarmed teen killed by a police officer, or any other case of misconduct everyone seems to ask where the good cops are. The answer is simple. They are being bullied off the streets like Lupi and many who have come before him. That is why it is imperative that we stand with these brave men and women.
“I was only doing the right thing,” Lupi told MLive.