GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – City of Greeneville officials are facing a federal lawsuit filed by former assistant police chief Michael Crum, court records show.
According to a complaint filed with the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Crum is seeking damages of more than $1.25 million after his termination in December 2021.
In the lawsuit, Crum alleges that the city’s decision to fire him from the Greeneville Police Department (GPD) was a violation of his rights to “property intent, liberty intent, and due process” under the 14th Amendment.
Crum was terminated by the city after a review by the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) found that most GPD employees said Crum allegedly contributed to their dissatisfaction with the department.
According to the MTAS report, Crum was accused of gender discrimination against women, favoritism and illegal practices by multiple members of the force.
In Crum’s filing, he alleges that a morale survey distributed by City Administrator Todd Smith led to the larger inquiry requested from MTAS. In that report, several members of the force reportedly described Crum as “evil” and “polarizing” while detailing multiple alleged instances of discrimination against women in the department and selective policing of certain areas of the city.
The report specified that Chief Tim Ward and two other assistant chiefs supported Crum, and their statements did not match others in the department. Some survey responses also supported Crum, though MTAS added that they all were taken from members of the same shift.
According to Crum, Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels assured him that his job was not in danger as part of the MTAS report. Crum claims Daniels also told Chief Ward the same, specifying that the assistant chief had “nothing to worry about” in reference to the inquiry.
Crum alleges that Smith asked him to resign, to which Crum refused, denied the report’s results and requested a hearing on the complaints. On Dec. 6, 2021, Crum was fired by the city in connection to the list of allegations.
Smith declined to provide a statement on the lawsuit, citing the fact that the case is ongoing.
At the time of his termination, Crum had worked for the City of Greeneville for roughly 31 years.
Crum’s filing lists several injuries allegedly caused to him by the city, including loss of reputation and respect, loss of career opportunities, embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish.
In addition to seeking damages “in excess of $1,250,000,” the filed lawsuit also asks that cause be taken before a jury.