Metro-East News

Nashville police officer was fired because he exposed corruption, lawsuit says

A Nashville police officer alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday that he was fired because he exposed corruption within the police department to city officials.

Greg Hopfinger, a 16-year veteran at the Nashville Police Department, said he told then-mayor Mayor Raymond Kolweir and City Council members Josh Fark and Eric Rolf about wrongdoing and illegal action he believed was occurring inside the department.

Police Chief Brian Fletcher and Rolf did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Hopfinger accused Fletcher of:

  • Falsifying state firearms qualifications records after Fletcher did not obtain the required 20 hours of training needed annually
  • Misappropriating funds donated to the department in the memory of fallen officers
  • Allowing the asset-forfeiture program to become non-compliant with the U.S. Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture program
  • Denying pay to an officer called in to work on a day off
  • Paying overtime to an officer who didn't earn it
  • Working less than 40 hours a week, but not marking leave time down for it
  • Not reporting and recording an incident involving a high school student robbed at gunpoint
  • Not following up with citizens requesting police assistance
  • Trying to get a ticket dropped for a friend
  • Having officers help him move furniture instead of monitoring the crosswalk at an elementary school

Hopfinger alleges that when he complained to Fletcher about these incidents, Fletcher told former Chief Dick Shew that Hopfinger was a "thorn in his side and that (Fletcher) needed to do something with (Hopfinger)," according to the lawsuit.

In March 2017, Kolweir told Fletcher and Hopfinger that they needed to start working together and meet once a day to get on the same page, the lawsuit alleges. But the meetings never happened.

Five months later, Fletcher called Hopfinger and told him he didn't trust him anymore, according to the lawsuit. A fellow officer told Hopfinger that Fletcher was trying to fire him in July, and Hopfinger was fired in August. He also alleges that Fletcher told people at a Nashville bar that Hopfinger was fired for a criminal matter.

Hopfinger alleges he was fired unlawfully, violating his First Amendment right of free speech and the right given to him in the Illinois Whistleblower Act to disclose information about his employer without being punished. He's also alleging defamation of character and a breach of contract for firing him without written charges and an opportunity to speak in his defense.

Kara Berg: 618-239-2626, @karaberg95