An Arkansas police officer who was fired after disclosing details of an undercover officer’s arrest of a prostitute while receiving sex acts is suing the department to get his job back.
KFSM News reports the Fort Smith Police Department fired Sgt. Don Bales in October after determining Bales had released copies of an undercover officer’s arrest affidavit to his attorney, Matthew Campbell, who subsequently posted the affidavit to his web blog on July 30 with the officer’s name redacted.
Bales believed the officer, who is only identified by the initials J.B., violated department policy by engaging in sex acts while on duty. The affidavit indicates the officer, while undercover during a prostitution sting, removed his clothes while in the presence of a prostitute and the prostitute began performing a sex act on him.
The affidavit states “such action was necessary to gather the proof needed to convict the person for violating the prostitution statute.” Police later said it was necessary because the prostitute was posing as a masseuse.
Police Chief Kevin Lindsey eventually fired Bales, saying he lied during an internal investigation into the matter by omitting that he had passed the affidavit on to his attorney.
Lindsey said Bales had violated eight department policies, including not being truthful, giving false testimony during a hearing, revealing confidential information to unauthorized people, releasing an official report without approval by the police chief, failure to cooperate with the Office of Professional Standards, not treating supervisors, subordinates and associates with respect, impairing the operation of the police department, and embarrassing or belittling someone.
Bales appealed the chief’s decision but his firing was upheld by the Fort Smith Civil Service Commission in November.
The Times Record of Arkansas reported at the time that the commission found Bales had violated seven of the eight policies. They did not uphold the accusation that he had embarrassed or belittled anyone.
Bales’ lawsuit contends that his handing over the affidavit to his attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege and that the undercover officer’s identity was not revealed by the posting of the document on his attorney’s blog.