Detective Donald Scott sues the city for retaliation and defamation

By Peter H. Milliken


A longtime city police officer has sued the city, its police chief, Rod Foley, and its prosecutor, Dana Lantz, alleging retaliation and defamation.

Detective Donald Scott, who is president of the Youngstown Police Ranking Officers Association and has been a police officer for more than 20 years, filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court, demanding a jury trial and seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

After Scott helped draft a nonpartisan petition for a proposed ballot issue to elect the city police chief, rather than having the mayor appoint the chief, Scott alleges Foley told him on July 6 that he might solve more robberies if he just did his job, instead of engaging in petitioning.

“Foley’s threat to place plaintiff under more scrutiny for engaging in protected activity constitutes unlawful retaliation under the First Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit said.

Scott also alleged he was transferred from his usual duties as a detective and assigned to the police department’s emergency-call center after Lantz wrote a defamatory letter Sept. 4 to Foley and other city officials that accused Scott of “attempting to thwart and sabotage prosecutions.”

As a result of this alleged conduct, Lantz wrote that Scott would be barred from presenting cases to her office, and that no charges would be filed based on his investigations, the suit said.

Scott said Lantz’ allegation that Scott offered to have a traffic ticket dismissed if an internal affairs complaint against the ticketing officer was dropped was false and defamatory.

“Plaintiff has never attempted to thwart or sabotage any of the more than 1,100 cases which he has investigated during his career,” the lawsuit said.

Foley declined to comment on the lawsuit; and Lantz and City Law Director Anthony Farris did not respond to a request to comment.

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