ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Both the government and the police department in the Star City are facing a pair of lawsuits surrounding accusations of sexual discrimination and retaliation.
According to court documents, Lt. Susanna Camp and Lt. Jeffrey Newman are suing Roanoke City and the Roanoke Police Department, saying they were put into unsafe conditions on the job.
Both officers claim they were denied promotions, with Camp’s lawsuit stating it was because she filed sexual harassment complaints against another city officer while Newman’s lawsuit says it was because he supported similar complaints from a female officer.
Camp cites several incidents in her court documents, such as a 2015 homicide investigation in Roanoke that was slowed and even hindered because of her “strong advocacy” for the investigation. The lawsuit also states that a superior officer was opposed to that investigation because the neighborhood was “one of color” with a “high murder rate.”
In both lawsuits, Camp and Newman refer to a manhunt in 2019, saying that poor leadership and lack of communication led to officers being positioned in an unsafe location, putting both officers’ and civilians’ lives at risk.
The documents also discuss the period surrounding the George Floyd protests, during which time Camp and Newman claim that crowd control and tactical response teams weren’t involved in the planning, that desk workers were put in the field, and that the department was unprepared, once again putting lives in danger. In addition, the lawsuits say the official report omits officers’ criticisms.
While the Roanoke Police Department says it cannot comment on active or pending litigation, the Roanoke City Manager’s office released the following statement about the lawsuits:
“It is the City’s practice to not comment on pending litigation involving the City. We believe once the evidence is presented before the Court, the City will be vindicated for any and all actions alleged by Lt. Susanna Camp.”Roanoke City Manager’s Office
The city has denied accusations of mishandling the homicide, the manhunt, and the protests. Officials are also denying any discrimination or retaliation against either Camp or Newman, adding that Camp’s gender did not play a role in decisions to promote other officers instead of her.
Camp and Newman are each seeking $5 million from the city through their lawsuits, which you can read below: