Robert Stinchfield, a former police officer with the Sidney Police Department will have his day in court starting Tuesday at 9 a.m. The lawsuit against the City of Sidney concerning Stinchfield’s dismissal from the Sidney Police Department will be held in the Seventh Judicial District Court of Richland County in Sidney.
Stinchfield is suing the city for damages resulting from his wrongful termination from the department, which he also claims violated the department’s personnel manual.
According to a petition filed on Jan. 21, 2020, Stinchfield is asking for relief related to special, general and exemplary damages as allowed by law in an amount to be determined by a jury, including but not limited to lost wages and other benefits, lost employment opportunities, attorney’s fees and for such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.
The petition states Stinchfield was hired on Nov. 7, 2016 and completed his probationary period one year later. The filing also states Stinchfield received yearly performance evaluations which met the department’s expectations and that Stinchfield had more arrests than most, if not all of the officers in the department for a one-year period.
In the document, Stinchfield claims he did not fit in with a group of supervising officers who the plaintiff claims had views of policing which were much different than his views.
Stinchfield states that he submitted complaints to management about some of the practices by the supervising officers, including bending or breaking rules, disregarding policy and acting outside of the code and conduct required for police officers.
According to the petition, his complaints were not acted on and management (from the mayor to the police chief) knew of the problems within the department but failed to act on them.
Stinchfield also claims an officer drove under the influence of alcohol, crashed his vehicle, left the scene of the crash and also obstructed the investigation. Stinchfield claims the unnamed officer is employed by the department.
Finally, Stinchfield claims that officers who do not fit in with the wrongful practices of the department are “hounded out” of the Sidney Police Department and face false accusations.
Current Sidney Police Chief Mark Kraft, who was not the police chief during Stinchfield’s employment or termination, said he was unable to comment on ongoing litigation.
The courtroom will be open for spectators after jury voir dire and proceedings will also be available on Zoom. Instructions to watch the trial via Zoom will be posted on the courtroom door.