Last month, we wrote about a former Fairview Police officer who claimed the chief, Granver Tolliver, a fairly litigious former Dallas deputy chief of police, sexually harassed her repeatedly. In Lisa Mitchell's lawsuit, she accused him of grabbing her by the ponytail and gesticulating crudely with his fingers during a Veterans Day parade and, on another occasion, confiding to her that he'd have "to fire her or fuck her."
On Monday, another former Fairview cop, Oscar Price, filed suit against the town, claiming he was canned for agreeing to talk about Tolliver's alleged improprieties. According to the complaint, Tolliver summoned Price to his office not long after Mitchell resigned and accused him of covering for Mitchell when she left work early. Price claims this was merely a guise to get to the true purpose of the meeting: Tolliver was "caught up in a situation with 'Lisa'...and needed Price 'to bail his ass out.'"
Tolliver did not respond as of this posting, but has previously denied Mitchell's allegations.
A few days later, Price says he was called to town manager John Godwin's office. Godwin, who left Fairview recently to take the town manager position in Paris, Texas, allegedly questioned Price about some graphic images on a thumb drive depicting Tolliver and a married woman allegedly engaged in sexual congress -- a thumb drive Mitchell claims Tolliver once placed on her desk.
Godwin, for his part, disputes Price's characterization of the meeting. "I can confirm I spoke to Price, but it wasn't about Chief Tolliver. It was about a different person," Godwin says. "He's kind of changed or exaggerated that for whatever reason. He actually didn't say anything bad about the chief and Officer Mitchell."
But Price claims Godwin wanted to know how he'd respond to an investigation into Mitchell's allegations. He says he told Godwin he feared for his job if he answered truthfully about the things he had seen and heard. Godwin, Price says, told him he would not be retaliated against, so Price opened up and told Godwin about the flash drive Tolliver allegedly left on Mitchell's desk and that he'd heard Tolliver say that "someday his penis would get him fired." He also claimed to have witnessed Tolliver bite his lip and grab his crotch as he walked behind Mitchell. Godwin, per Price's account, said he had already warned Tolliver about his behavior.
A few days later, despite Godwin's reassurances, Price claims he was fired because he "no longer supported Chief Tolliver's management style and vision for the department." He's seeking unspecified damages from the town for retaliation.
Godwin declined to discuss the reasons for Price's dismissal but says it had nothing to do with retaliation. "There was nothing to retaliate against," he says. "He didn't attack the chief on that."
Asked whether there is any merit to the allegations against Tolliver, Price says, "I don't believe so. There's no way I can know, but I don't believe so, on a personal level."
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