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The suit originated in 1998, filed by a then-KCPD officer named Rose Mitchell Ealy. In her 50s at the time, Ealy worked as a DARE officer, visiting schools and educating kids about the dangers of using drugs.
But working the DARE unit, Ealy alleged, was like working the cafeteria at an all-boys middle school. There were epic displays of flatulence. Cops put globs of ranch dressing around their mouths while joking about blow jobs. Menstrual cycles were "red flags," and a plastic sex toy got batted around like a balloon at a Phish concert. Among the officers in this merry band of juveniles: Griddine.
When she told a supervisor about the offensive environment she was subjected to, Ealy was reassigned to transporting arrestees at night, she claimed. The job was physically demanding and dangerous, and was the department's attempt to punish her, she said.
So she sued. Her lawsuit named six of the nine officers in the DARE unit and ascribed various immature behaviors to each. Griddine, she said, "talked about the difference between black pussy and white pussy"; "put his fingers over his mouth and moved his tongue back and forth"; "pressed his face against the window of the exercise room and opened his mouth and moved his tongue back and forth"; and "talked about the odor after a sexual encounter."
The officers were promptly reassigned. (Griddine was assigned to the North Patrol Division and later moved to Central Patrol, which encompasses Parker Square.) The case finally went to trial in 2004. A federal jury awarded Ealy $600,000 — $100,000 in compensation for the harassment, North says, and $500,000 for the department's poor handling of Ealy's complaints.
"I think the jury was more outraged by the actions of the department in retaliating against her ... than they were by the actual harassment itself," North says.
Still, the accusations were there on paper. Fletcher, already fixated on Griddine's stature, developed a theory based on the residents' tales and the lawsuit: This Napoleonic officer was targeting families at Parker Square because he was motivated by lust.
Bazart and Denise Batton seized on Fletcher's theory. "I can't understand — why is this man getting by doing all this?" Bazart asks. "He got found guilty for sexual harassment, a $600,000 suit, but he's still at the police department."
It does seem strange, given Griddine's history, that his supervisors would approve him to work, both on-duty and off-, at a low-income housing complex populated mostly by women. The answer is simple, KCPD sources tell The Pitch: Ealy's allegations were widely regarded as bullshit, the manufactured outrage of a disgruntled cop.
"I never received those types of complaints. I never saw it," says Majors, Griddine's former boss. "I would have no qualms or hesitations having Timmy handle something for my wife or daughter. I just trust him implicitly."
There's a hint of spring in the night air at Parker Square. Griddine stands beneath a streetlight in the parking lot as a reporter flips through a copy of his personnel file, which Griddine has provided for inspection. (The department declined to provide a copy, citing employee-privacy laws.)
The paperwork shows three instances of disciplinary action: disciplinary counseling for his failure to appear in court in 1991 ("I was working until 4 in the morning and didn't make it up for court at 9 a.m."); a letter of reprimand for inappropriate actions in 1997 ("I handcuffed a kid who was off his meds and was trying to jump out a window"); disciplinary counseling for improper conduct in 1998 ("the lawsuit thing").