Police lawsuits against O’Fallon settled

John Tremmel photo

In January 2021 the city of O’Fallon settled a discrimination and defamation lawsuit filed by O’Fallon police Capt. Jeffery Gray and Maj. Kyle Kelley for a total payment of $580,000.  

In March, three other police department employees came forward to allege discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment.

All three filed complaints at the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR).  

MCHR complaints automatically become federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints. The three alleged retaliation by the city for their willingness to blow the whistle on illicit city activities in terms of discrimination. All three individuals had planned to file lawsuits.

Since earlier this year, all three left their positions in the O’Fallon Police Department for varying reasons, and none are currently employed by the city. 

Brian Hilke had been a lieutenant. Edward Smith, spouse of council member Deanna Smith (Ward 1), had been a sergeant. Lisa Salisbury had been the department’s budget and procurement manager.

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine recently spoke to attorney John Lynch, who is representing the employees and who represented Gray and Kelley, to learn about the status of those complaints and lawsuits.

“The genesis of each lawsuit relates to the ongoing tactics of the city administration, care of city administrator Michael Snowden, former police chief Timothy Clothier, and newly-former police chief Philip Dupuis, all of whom have specifically targeted my clients and others as a means to retaliate against them for their purported willingness to blow the whistle on illicit city activities in terms of discrimination,” Lynch said. “To help ensure that the court hearing the lawsuits does not dismiss a case due to failure to pursue administrative and internal remedies first, the plaintiffs waited 180 days (six months) to give MCHR time to work with the city on possible remedies.  With no resulting remedies, all three recently requested and each received from MCHR a Notice of Right to Sue.”

Lynch further explained that once the Right to Sue has been issued, the individual must file a lawsuit within 90 days. Two of those lawsuits now have been filed.  

On Oct. 18, Hilke filed an employment discrimination lawsuit in St. Charles Circuit Court naming the city, Clothier and DuPuis as defendants. Circuit Court Judge Michael James Fagras has been assigned to the case (No. 2111-CC00938). Summonses have been issued for all defendants.

Also on Oct. 18, Smith filed an employment discrimination lawsuit in St. Charles Circuit Court naming the city, Snowden, Clothier and DuPuis as defendants. Circuit Court Judge Jon A. Cunningham has been assigned to the case (No. 2111-CC00939). Summonses have been issued for all defendants.

The next steps for those lawsuits include the selection of attorneys by the defendants, preliminary hearings and the discovery process. 

According to Lynch, Salisbury will be filing her lawsuit in the near future.

As a matter of policy, the city of O’Fallon does not comment on personnel matters or active litigation.