JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The James City County police sergeant who was shot by a fellow officer in January is currently the subject of an internal affairs investigation and was placed on paid leave in April, according to a memo obtain by 10 On Your Side.
The memo is written by Interim Police Chief Anthony Dallman. It reads:
“I request that Sergeant Christopher Gibson be placed on Paid Administrative Leave until the conclusion of an internal affairs investigation.
Sergeant Gibson was involved in an incident in January where he was seriously injured. An allegation of misconduct has since been received via a third-party report. I do not believe it is in the best interest of the Police Department or James City County to have Sergeant Gibson report to work during this investigation.”JCCPD Interim Police Chief Anthony Dallman
The memo is dated April 10 — that’s five days after 10 On Your Side aired an exclusive investigation into the events leading up to the shooting, and the claims by Rusk and his attorneys that he shot Gibson after fighting off unwanted sexual advances from him outside the bar.
“My son wasn’t acting in malice,” said Jason Rusk, Michael’s father, who added that Gibson had been advancing on Rusk for a year before the shooting.
“I know he told his chain of command, I know he did tell his lieutenant, he said, ‘this is kind of weird.’ Nothing really came of it.”
In the course of investigating the shooting, 10 On Your Side learned that multiple officers had complained to outside agencies about “bullying” and fear of retaliation from superior officer in the department.
Those claims were uncovered in copies of three reports performed by outside consultants hired to look into morale issues at JCCPD.
InnerWill Leadership Institute, a national 501 c3 nonprofit organization, interviewed 77 members of the police department between Aug. 29 and Sept. 7, 2022. Part of their report states:
“Interviewees indicated low trust in leadership and described multiple examples of
perceived retaliation that they had experienced or directly observed. Examples of
retaliation described included: harsher disciplinary action, being removed from roles,
being denied promotions and job assignments, and being denied access to training and
resources. “Bullying” was often used to describe the retaliatory behavior.”
In October, a report by Dr. Tamara N. Rodenberg stated similar findings:
“If someone speaks out, there is a fear of retaliation manifested in perception of
who receives promotions, unfair assignments, and efforts to avoid interaction/conversation.
Further, there is a perception that policy is changed to promote favorites into positions of
authority without transparent and fair processes. These perceptions must be addressed for the
Department to move forward as a team.”
Another report was performed in Oct. 2022 by the Virginia Association of Police Chiefs. Part of that report stated:
“Many described the workplace as toxic and said they were seeking employment elsewhere. Some said they were happy to retire as soon as they can, and many spoke of poor internal communications.”
We asked the police department for a response to these reports and received the following statement from Assistant County Administrator Bradley Rinehimer:
“James City County takes all allegations and complaints from employees in the workplace very seriously. After hearing some concerns from the Police Department last summer, we contracted with an outside organization to speak with all Police Department employees about the climate and morale in the department.
This resulted in a number of actions to include salary increases, meetings with the County Administrator, and four outside consultants being brought in to gain a better understanding of the problems they were experiencing. We are confident that we have resolved many of the issues raised and are continuing to work to resolve any outstanding issues.
The Chief of Police retired in December and we have had an interim Chief since that time but are expecting to make a permanent Police Chief appointment in the coming weeks to continue to move the department forward.”