Morrisville officer alleges inappropriate conduct by colleague

Posted: January 25, 2014

In a federal lawsuit filed last month, a Morrisville woman alleges that a fellow police officer threatened her with a firearm and inappropriately issued citations against her family.

Officer Erica McIntyre also claims that Bill Smith called her derogatory names and said while she was pregnant "that he loved to look at pregnant women's breasts and that pregnant women 'turn him on.' "

The suit seems to reveal yet more evidence of a police department suffering from dysfunction. Smith filed his own lawsuit in Bucks County Court last year in which he claimed harassment by fellow officers, including McIntyre, whom he alleged exposed her breasts to him and asked "how long his penis was."

The suits, both pending against the borough, were filed during a yearlong period in which Morrisville lacked a police chief. That period should end within the next month when Philadelphia police Lt. George McClay, who was hired Wednesday, begins his role as the next chief.

"I was hoping some of the infighting would be settled before he got there," said Nancy Sherlock, the borough council president. "But certainly, part of his job will be to make sure that things are in order and that policies are followed, and there is no infighting."

Last summer, a temporary chief quit over the turmoil, telling council members that some officers may have been hired without proper background checks, worked without supervision, and faced no discipline for "improper" performance.

McIntyre's lawsuit began as a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was lodged more than a year ago. The suit was filed in December after a procedural yearlong waiting period. One of McIntyre's attorneys, Edith Pearce, said Wednesday that McIntyre still had "ongoing complaints" about the department, although Pearce declined to elaborate.

Eric Brown, an attorney for the borough's insurance company, said McIntyre's claims are baseless. "We'll aggressively defend the claims," he said. "I believe the suit ultimately will be dismissed."


bfinley@phillynews.com

610-313-8118

@Ben_Finley

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