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Former Fairbanks Police detective sues City for harassment

FPD Detective Avery Thompson at Jan 2020 press conference
Detective Avery Thompson at a January, 2020 press conference about a murder case.

Avery Thompson alleges retaliation and intimidation for whistleblowing

A former Fairbanks Police detective is suing the City for retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment, railroading him out of his job, violating the state’s whistleblower act, and violating the Alaska Human Rights Act. This is the second lawsuit this year from a former police detective, and the cases are related.

Avery Thompson served 15 years for the Fairbanks Police Department and was a supervising detective, working with other law enforcement agencies on cases such as murders and missing persons. He says his supervisors changed his assignments, demoted him and intimidated him until he quit the force in July.

They've already gone after my job, my livelihood, my career, and it has affected my family significantly. I don't know what was next.

The harassment began, according to Thompson, after he supported a colleague who made complaints about sexual harassment.

That colleague, Detective Alana Malloy, is also his girlfriend. Malloy was a 17-year veteran of Fairbanks Police Department. Malloy said she started being treated differently than male officers, and in 2019, began to make formal complaints. Thompson says he supported her complaints. first to the City’s HR Department and eventually, in November 2020, to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

In June of 2019 when we were initially reporting, harassing behaviors, that harassing behaviors turned into discriminatory behaviors. And we reported that to the City of Fairbanks director of human resources, to the chief of staff, to the city attorney. And they were all very aware of what exactly we were talking, and completely disregarded any type of investigation into that, and instead, they came after me.

Thompson says over last winter he was removed from duty assignments, had his title and salary changed, was temporarily suspended while being investigated for what he was told was dishonesty, was demoted and moved to a remote workstation. He says at one point he feared for his safety.

Once they had ordered me back to work, and then I received an email to report to firearms training at some range that I've never even heard of, out on the Elliot highway, and I was scheduled to go with the chief and deputy chief, not go with other investigators or other detectives. That was absolutely a scary moment.

Thompson resigned in July. Malloy had already resigned and filed her own lawsuit against the City last May, alleging repeated sexual harassment and retaliation by her supervisor and other Fairbanks Police officials.

Thompson’s court complaint says the City has not appropriately investigated anything he may have done wrong because it did not follow the City’s union contract with police officers nor the FPD internal affairs policies for investigating officers.

When contacted Tuesday, City officials had not yet seen the court complaint. Phone calls and email requests to the City’s spokesperson, City Attorney and Chief of Police, Ron Dupee were not returned yesterday.

The court complaint asks that Thompson be compensated, but he says he would like to see a cultural change in the Fairbanks Police Department.

My whole thought on this whole, the entire situation is, I mean, it's sad. This whole thing could have been resolved with simple accountability and it wasn't. So, it ended up here.

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.