The first woman police officer in Iron Mountain, Michigan, had a bright outlook on her future, but it apparently went sour due to alleged conduct by fellow officers.
During Teresa Williams’ nearly five years with the department, the 35-year-old reportedly endured harassment and assault, NBC News reported Thursday.
The information was according to a federal lawsuit the woman filed recently against three officers with the agency.
After being hired in late 2017, she was allegedly forced to make out with her supervisor while they were at a bar taking shots.
In addition, the supervisor and her former patrol partner are accused of betting on which of them would be the first to have sex with the female officer.
Now, she wants accountability, saying, “Just because you wear a badge and you’re a cop, it doesn’t mean you’re above the law.”
The woman also said she wants the community to realize they have a right to know who is serving them.
According to its website, the population in Iron Mountain is 7,624, and its local counties are Dickinson County and Marquette County.
The NBC report continued:
The lawsuit alleges sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation. Named as defendants are the department’s top two supervisors, Ed Mattson, the director of police and fire services, and Joseph Dumais, the deputy director of police services. Garth Budek, Williams’ former patrol partner, is the third officer named as a defendant. Also named as defendants are the city and the police department.
Per the department’s website, the agency is “committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing the quality of life in the Iron Mountain Community through a fair and effective delivery of services.”
Jack Schulz, who is Williams’ attorney, claims officers in the town are insulated from checks-and-balances systems that normally offer accountability to those in larger areas.
In one alleged incident, Williams drove Budek home after going to a bar. When they arrived, he allegedly made her touch his genitals over his clothes.
According to Williams, a few years after she was hired, someone told her she was about to lose her job and that Dumais had been telling others outside the agency she would be leaving soon.
While she was still with the department, Budek and Dumais were promoted.
However, “The department allegedly began to ‘relentlessly target’ her for discipline and she was held to a different standard than her male colleagues, who were not disciplined for doing the same things she was disciplined for,” the Detroit News reported in February.
Williams had a meeting with Mattson and Dumais in March of last year, and according to the suit, Mattson said Budek was struggling and he desired to tell his wife about what happened.
Mattson also reportedly said he understood the work related incidents happened when the adults were fully clothed, and he did not care about other instances that occurred elsewhere.
It was not long before the woman was informed she would be let go if she did not step down, therefore, she left the following month.
In her resignation letter, Williams spoke about the alleged harassment and discrimination, saying it came with sadness but a sigh of relief, per the News report.
“From this day forward I do not have to be afraid of you guys anymore. … I will not be silenced anymore. I will continue to stand tall, and stand up for what is right,” she stated.
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