HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - A former lieutenant has sued ex-Hampton Police Chief Charles Jordan and ex-Major Edward Lattimore for just under $4 million.
The plaintiff, James Crotts, worked as a lieutenant for the Hampton Police Division throughout an undercover cigarette sting. In the lawsuit, he alleges he was defamed by Lattimore and Jordan, and his reputation tainted during the fallout of the sting.
The cigarette sting was initially sponsored in 2010 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to investigate illegal cigarette operations in Virginia. Jordan placed Major Randy Seals in charge of overseeing the operation and Crotts was in charge of the day to day functioning, according the the lawsuit filed in Hampton Circuit Court.
Hampton police continued the sting later that year when the ATF pulled out of the operation. An ATF agent has been convicted of criminal activity during the sting.
Last year, a patrolman with the Hampton Police Division told Chief Jordan that other undercover officers kept investigative funds not spent during the operation.
The lawsuit shows Crotts and Jordan had gotten into a heated debate regarding the usage of the funds, which Crotts claimed he knew was against the law. He claims he at no point allowed officers to misuse that money, and he claims he questioned why Jordan didn't directly ask him or Seals about the finances at the beginning, rather than trusting a patrolman.
In the conversations between the two men, Crotts alleged he had heard from others in the division that he and other high-ranking officers would be "transferred, fired, or would be going to jail." Crotts mentioned hearing several defamatory statements about himself and other officers throughout the department. The lawsuit states upon "information and belief" those defamatory statements allegedly came from Jordan and Lattimore.
The lawsuit also addresses an incident in which Crotts announced his retirement but was told days later he was being placed on administrative leave, per Jordan's orders.
Jordan resigned in November 2012 and Lattimore retired in January 2013.
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