Main charge against fired Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers thrown out
In another setback for officials trying to justify the removal of former U.S. Park Police Teresa Chambers retroactively, a federal appeals court threw out the main charge against Chambers yesterday.
This message, summarizing the background in the case, passed along from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:
“Chambers, who had been the police chief in Durham, NC, was selected by
the Bush administration following a nationwide search in 2002 as first
female leader of the oldest uniformed force in federal service. In late
2003, Chief Chambers gave an interview to the Washington Post in which
she confirmed dangerously low staffing levels. Three days after her
interview was published, she was ordered to surrender her gun and badge,
placed her on administrative leave and ordered her not to speak any
further with the media. After leaving her on administrative leave for 7
months, the Interior Department act to terminate her, citing her
interview as disclosing “law enforcement sensitive” information.”
In yesterday’s ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (D.C.) said that Chambers’ statements are protected under federal whistleblower law.
The remaining lesser charges in the case are remanded to lower court.
“”The Interior Department threw a kitchen sink of bogus charges against
Chief Chambers and one by one they are falling away,” stated PEER Senior
Counsel Paula Dinerstein, who argued Chambers’ winning appeal. “This
ruling will help keep us safer as a nation by creating a legal shield
enabling other Paul Reveres to alert the public to hidden dangers.””