Urbandale, IA, police Sgt. Mark Jorgensen is suing the department and other named plaintiffs over the effects he says he has suffered from an incident that killed another officer and because of claims of discrimination and retaliation.
Jorgensen found one of his officers shot to death in a patrol car in November 2016. Officer Justin Martin, 24, had been assigned to Jorgensen's command weeks earlier. Minutes after the killing, another call came over the radio notifying officers that a Des Moines police sergeant had been ambushed in a fatal shooting two miles away.
As squad cars sped to that murder, Jorgensen told assisting firefighters he lacked the manpower to protect them in Urbandale. Jorgensen and three officers investigated in the dark for several hours — the killer at large — after their former chief declined to deploy an emergency response team, Jorgensen alleges in a lawsuit filed against the city of Urbandale.
In his petition, Jorgensen claimed he has faced disability discrimination, harassment, a failure to accommodate him and retaliation under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, citing incidents before and after the killings of his fellow officers, the Des Moines Register reports.
Jorgensen developed post-traumatic stress disorder and an anxiety disorder from the killing and the city's "subsequent abusive treatment" of him, the lawsuit claims. The petition made complaints against current and former employees in the police department and the human resources office.
Derek Zarn, a city spokesman, said the city looked forward to working with Jorgensen to discuss his concerns in a "fair and expedited approach." He said the city addresses complaints in a thoughtful manner.
Sgt. Chad Underwood, the police department's spokesman, said he could not comment. The city's attorney, Brent Hinders, said Urbandale planned to "vigorously defend" itself; Urbandale must answer the petition or file a motion within 20 days.
The police killer, Scott Michael Greene, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to two counts of first-degree murder, admitting he shot Martin and Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony “Tony” Beminio, 38. Greene was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison.