PIEDMONT — A former Piedmont police officer fired after ticketing the mother of a 3-year-old child for allowing the boy to urinate in the front lawn of a home is suing the city.
The city of Piedmont is petitioning to have the lawsuit, filed last summer, heard in federal court, according to documents filed Monday.
Officer Kenneth Qualls issued the citation to Ashley Warden after he saw her son, Dillan, drop his pants in the front yard of the family home at 4505 Ryan Drive.
Qualls argues that he was given permission by a police lieutenant to issue the public urination citation on Nov. 4, 2012, according to a court petition. Qualls reportedly also called his direct supervisor before being directed up the chain of command for permission.
The Canadian County district attorney's office did not drop the charge, but told Qualls to amend it to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The city's police chief, Alex Oblein, was also informed of the citation the day after it was issued, but did not drop or dismiss it, court documents allege.
It was only after media reports about the incident surfaced that Qualls was terminated Nov. 16, 2012, without due process, the petition states.
The termination — which Qualls sought to reverse — was upheld by the Piedmont personnel board on July 1, 2013.
Qualls alleges his termination was without cause, was a violation of Oklahoma public policy and that his 14th Amendment rights were violated, according to the petition.
In media reports, Mayor Valerie Thomerson reportedly called Qualls “stupid,” which he says tarnished his reputation, the petition states.
The city of Piedmont admits that the personnel board voted to fire Qualls, but denies the other allegations in the petition, according to court documents.