LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WATE) – A LaFollette police officer who was fired earlier this month after allegations he created a toxic workplace for other officers is seeking to return to the department, claiming his termination violated the city’s own policies.
The LaFollette City Council voted to dismiss Sgt. Monty Miller and Lt. Brian Tiller from the police department during an Aug. 2 meeting. Captain Steve Wallen was promoted to chief of police following the retirement of longtime chief Bill Roehl during the same meeting.
In June, Wallen was placed on unpaid leave while allegations that he fixed a ticket for a woman were investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Wallen was later reinstated after the District Attorney General declined to bring charges.
Sgt. Charles Duff claimed in a June 13 complaint to the city that Miller brought the allegation against Wallen more than 2 years after it allegedly occurred for his own political gain and fabricated stories about other ranking officers, including Duff, around the time Roehl announced his retirement.
Duff claims Miller was laughing about Wallen’s suspension the day it was announced and told officers “one down, two to go.”
Knoxville Attorney Celeste Herbert was hired by the city to investigate the complaints. After conducting, “numerous in-person interviews, telephone interviews and Zoom interviews,” Herbert wrote in a 2 1/2-page investigative report that she believed Duff and other officers were bullied and harassed by Sgt. Monty Miller.
Herbert wrote that Tiller, “either agreed with Miller’s behavior or purposely ignored it,” in failing to discipline Miller as his direct supervisor and recommended discipline against both officers.
An attorney representing Miller told WATE the city has failed to respond to a public records request for the entire investigation, instead only providing the 2 1/2 page summary, and that Miller’s termination was in violation of city rules.
“Procedurally, it is clear the City of LaFollette violated their own policies and procedures involving the termination of Sgt. Miller who is the longest continuous serving member of the LaFollette Police Department,” said attorney L. Scott Miller.