SDPD sergeant sues city over retaliation claims

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego police sergeant is suing the city, claiming he was threatened and forced to take a leave of absence after  after claiming the department’s motorcade policy is illegal.

According to the lawsuit filed by attorney Dan Gilleon on behalf of SDPD Sgt. Danny Hollister, the veteran cop emailed Chief Shelly Zimmerman, saying that program put police officers' lives at risk.

“He just texted me, and he says 'I can’t believe my career ended this way,'” said Gilleon. “Our police department doesn’t like whistleblowers. It does not like people who speak out … They don’t just come in and fire you. What they do is they ruin your name.”

According to the complaint, Hollister, a motorcycle unit trainer, emailed Zimmerman in April claiming the department motorcades were dangerous, against policy and the law. He even referred to other state departments which have banned similar practices. Days later, Hollister claims his boss began threatening his career.

“His lieutenant found out about it and was livid and came in, began chastising him and ostracizing him and badmouthing him,” said Gilleon.

The sergeant was removed from his unit, only to be reinstated shortly after. He claims he was being made an example for his co-workers.

Concerns about motorcades have been brought up before. In 2014 a pair of SDPD officers were injured after colliding while escorting the president of Slovakia.

“Motorcades should not be speeding. The cops should not be speeding past a protected car simply because there’s not enough resources, but that’s what San Diego does," Gilleon said.

Hollister, who has been with the department for 30 years, has been on paid leave since early August.

“In the meantime, his life became so miserable -- that sort of hostile environment -- that he just took leave," Gilleon said. "That’s retaliation, though."

Neither the San Diego Police Officers Association nor the police department responded to FOX 5's requests for comments on the lawsuit. The city now has a month to respond to the filing.

Court Documents: San Diego police officer files lawsuit against department