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City of West Palm Beach was aware of whistleblower complaints prior to filing lawsuit

Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 04:29:30-05

A spokesperson for the city of West Palm Beach said the city was aware of claims made by Lt. Francisco Alonso prior to filing a whistleblower lawsuit Friday. 

"As an overall policy, we do not comment on pending litigation or threats of litigation," said a spokesperson. 

It is unclear if communication between Alonso and his counsel were seen as "threats of litigation." Requests to interview the mayor have been denied at this time. 

Two West Palm Beach police officers were arrested in less than two months and now Alonso is sounding the alarm on more alleged police misconduct. 

Alonso's whistleblower lawsuit claims he was retaliated against every time he filed a complaint at the police department. 

"We gave the city a year and a half to try to fix this," said Valentin Rodriguez, Alonso's attorney. 

The whistleblower lawsuit comes on the heels of the recent arrest of Officer Crystal Homic, who is accused of stealing $100 from a suspect she arrested. Officer Zachary Immler was also arrested on charges accusing him of stealing about $6,500 during the execution of a search warrant at a home in October. 

Alonso claims on top of overtime fraud and police misconduct, the department covered up a patrol car crash involving an off-duty officer.

"It's a cover up of a police officer, a sergeant in a patrol vehicle marked who was driving on the city streets while impaired," said Rodriguez. 

Witness interviews revealed Sgt. Kevin Farrell was at an adult nightclub before he crashed his patrol car. He was sent to the hospital with a DUI crash investigator, but left the hospital without telling anyone. Alonso was reprimanded for not making sure Farrell was tested for drugs and alcohol. He issued two whistleblower letters to the city before filing a lawsuit. 

"He was with the department 29 years and he realized he just couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore and let the fraud continue," added Rodriguez. 

Alonso has been on paid administrative leave since August of last year. The police chief won't comment on the ongoing internal affairs investigations.

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