Ex-UO cop gets $755K in retaliation case verdict

James Cleavenger was fired in 2012

A jury box in a courtroom (2015, AP)
A jury box in a courtroom (2015, AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A federal jury has awarded $755,000 to a former University of Oregon public safety officer after finding the university’s police chief and a top lieutenant retaliated against him for speaking out about department wrongdoing.

The Oregonian reports jurors awarded the damages to James Cleavenger on Friday. Jurors found UO Police Chief Carolyn McDermed violated Cleavenger’s First Amendment rights when she fired him in 2012 and in 2014 when she tried to prove he was too untruthful to testify.

Cleavenger in 2013 sued the university and its police department saying he was wrongfully fired for reporting problems, including a vulgar list compiled by officers. The list included people and things the department disliked, from Hillary Clinton to campus bicycles.

University officials said they’re disappointed with the jury’s decision.

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