Former Lonoke chief of police Patrick Mulligan has filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County against the city of Lonoke.
Mulligan is suing for punitive damages exceeding $500,000, reinstatement to his former job or front pay, attorney fees and court costs.
Mulligan is represented Luther Sutter of the Benton firm Sutter & Gillham with the lawsuit being filed on Feb. 17 . The city’s response was on April 25 by Hot Springs attorney C. Burt Newell.
The city, through Newell’s response, is denying Mulligan’s claims.
Lonoke Mayor Wayne McGee said on Tuesday he fired Mulligan, who then asked if he could resign, contingent on a letter of resignation from Mulligan, which the city never received.
Mulligan claims in the suit he was terminated because he opposed racial discrimination happening at the city. Mulligan never moved to Lonoke and still lives in Pulaski County. He is a former former Sheriff’s deputy there and unsuccessful candidate for Sheriff.
McGee said he has not fully read Mulligan’s claims but has been questioned by City Attorney Ginger Stuart and Newell on the case. McGee said while he does not foresee the case going to court, in the event it does, the city has no plans to settle the case.
“There’s nothing to settle on,” McGee said. “I don’t know what there is to sue for. People will try to do anything these days.”
In the nine-page lawsuit, Mulligan claims on numerous occasions he witnessed racial discriminatory acts and derogatory comments said by McGee, other city officials and city employees.
These occurred, Mulligan said, at the police department and at McGee’s office in City Hall.
The lawsuit details Mulligan’s termination.
On Dec. 21, 2016, Mulligan met with McGee, and Water Department Manager Jim Kelly in the conference room at City Hall. McGee, told Mulligan that his last day would be Dec. 29, 2016 and that he was being let go because the City Council wanted to go different direction and that McGee was tired of issues with the department.
Mulligan said he wasn’t relieved of his badge, weapon or authority as chief of police.
Mulligan also claims in the lawsuit he was questioned by McGee for paying a newly hired black part time officer $12 per hour, but not the white part-time officers; he was terminated less than two weeks following the start of an internal investigation of a black officer being subjected to a hostile work environment or illegal discrimination; after issuing Lonoke Alderman Efrem Jones a police car as a reserve non-paid officer to help with the backlog of warrants and to transport prisoners, he was questioned about giving Jones a vehicle and told to get the car back.
McGee and some alderman disapproved of Mulligan starting a Chief’s Council comprised of several young black males from Lonoke that have experienced issues with the police department; he opposed white establishments not being subjected to scrutiny when the mayor ordered the police department to go to the Mariachi Grill and collect late, unpaid taxes.
The suit also referenced wasted or misuse of department funds, illegal or unethical secret meetings of McGee and some of the city aldermen, and requests by city officials for an alteration to a traffic ticket and the release of a friend arrested for DWI.