Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Henry v. MOA - Vandegriff - Lunch Break Report

This morning was all Vandegriff.  Retired Lt. Kevin Vandegriff worked at IA (Internal Affairs) and conducted several investigations on Henry and Redick and was a key source of information for Rick Brown, the external investigator hired by the APD to look into the Anthony Henry problem.  He's been portrayed by the plaintiff attorneys as one of the people out to get Henry.

As a witness, he was surprisingly even tempered and candid.  I say candid - although I can't independently know what the truth is - because he's very ready to admit things that seem to play into the plaintiff's narrative.  Other witnesses seemed to subtly change when they were asked questions that put them in less than stellar light.  Vandegriff didn't seem to have any ego vested in this.

Let me try to summarize some of the key points I heard:

  • Henry was a toxic employee:
    • Simonian:  Remember you had the idea of hiring a consultant specialize in getting rid of a toxic employee?  
    • Vandegriff:  I went to labor conference and went to session about dealing with employees just like Henry.  When I came back I said someone should be sent to conference.
    • V:  You characterized it as getting rid of him.  But [I would say it's more] about finding ways how to deal with an always angry employee and they said it's often good to offer a buyout, cheaper than litigation.
  • Vandegriff had strong beliefs about Henry and his behavior when he played the role of Henry's investigator 
    • Had spent nearly a year hearing complaints about Henry from Jack Carson, from Command, and believed that Henry had covered up Jason Whetsell's illness and performance issues.  
  • Vandegriff and the rest of the Command believed that the successful OEO/EEOC complaints of Whetsell and Henry 
    • were based on false testimony by APD officers to OEO
    • were a betrayal of APD by Henry
  • Vandegriff and Command in general didn't consider their obligations under the ACA when dealing with Whetsell

S:  You knew that you needed evidence to show OEO findings false?  Yes??? [Mixed questions]
S:   Other than Carson’s allegations of 2013, that reached back to 2011 - what else did Deputy Chief Smith give you to support that Jason Whetsell  couldn’t do his job?
V:  None
S:  What did DC Smith said you could or couldn’t do [in the investigation]?
V:  No directions
S:  Did he tell you what ADA said you could ask about?
V: No didn’t talk about ADA
S:  What you needed to know to base anything on ADA?
V:  No
S:  In deposition you testified you didn’t see any connection between IA investigation [about whether people were truthful to OEO investigator about Whetsell's health and performance] and OEO findings against APD?
V:  That’s correct.
S:  Only info you had into Redick, Henry, Whetsell and his condition about MS was what you googled?
V:  I had info I googled about MS and conversations with Carson about  what he’d observed and what he saw about Whetsell.
S:  Carson said fast moving MS?
V:  yes
S:  Didn’t ask anyone else?
V:  No
S:  Didn’t ask expert opinion about his condition or MS?
V: No
S:  Didn’t ask Dr. If what Carson said was true?
V:  No I did not

I'll add more tonight, but these are things I took away from this morning's testimony.  Plaintiffs still have more time with Vandegriff and then defense has at him, so things might look a lot different by 5pm.

Index of all Henry v MOA posts here.

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