Ex-officer in Oregon sues over dismissal
He says firing ignored disability of alcoholism
PORTLAND – An Oregon police officer fired for driving drunk in an unmarked police car while off-duty has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the city of Gresham, its police chief and others, alleging his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit filed in Portland says the Gresham officer, Jason Servo, was suffering from alcoholism, a recognized disability under the act, and shouldn’t have been dismissed.
The suit also alleges Servo was denied due process and that the police union failed to represent him adequately.
“Just as with any type of disability or disease, they should have made some kind of effort to accommodate that, or some kind of effort to work with him, and not simply sever all ties,” said Shawn Kollie, one of Servo’s attorneys.
City Attorney David Ris and a police spokesman did not return phone messages seeking comment.
Servo was arrested in January 2011 after he crashed into a ditch while off-duty. The lawsuit states that Servo, a detective who was the department’s lead firearms instructor, had taken the police vehicle to a firearms training session in the nearby city of Troutdale. Later, he joined fellow officers for dinner and drinks.
“This was a common practice among (Gresham) officers and had become an inherent part of the culture,” according to the suit filed late Thursday.
The Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy who arrested him later testified that Servo was probably one of the top 10 most intoxicated people he had arrested in almost 15 years of drunken-driving investigations.
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