Former detective sues city

A former Poulsbo police detective accused of abusing his authority filed a $13 million lawsuit against the city claiming his civil rights were violated.

Grant Romaine resigned from the department in December 2007 while being investigated for misconduct, but alleges he was forced out of his position because he publicly opposed Mayor Kathryn Quade.

Quade called the allegations “unfounded.”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, names Quade, other city employees and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office employees along with some of their spouses.

In the suit, filed Sept. 8, Romaine asks the court for $10 million from the city and $3 million from the sheriff’s office for violating his civil rights. Romaine is also asking for an undetermined amount for punitive damages from the city and a designation as a retired police officer.

Romaine, 53, of Poulsbo, said he is attempting to get a psychological disability and doesn’t believe he will ever serve as a police officer again.

“After going through all these stresses I know I can never go back to law enforcement work,” Romaine told the Herald. He said he spent about 24 years in the field. He started at the Poulsbo department in 1989.

Quade said she was notified of the suit Wednesday. The city’s risk management company and the City Council have also been notified.

“The city will vigorously defend itself,” Quade said. “We feel we will prevail.”

The investigation of Romaine began in September 2007 and alleged he had harassed women, lied on the job and surfed law enforcement databases for personal use.

However, Romaine alleges the city repeatedly violated its own policies in the investigation, and the start of the conflict was Quade becoming upset that Romaine was speaking at City Council meetings and writing letters to local newspapers critical of her, the lawsuit said.

He also alleged that at the time of his resignation he was denied unused sick time worth about $14,000 and the internal investigation went beyond the initial allegations and included conjectures about Romaine’s Navy record.

Romaine is currently representing himself, as his attorney has suffered a stroke. A federal judge denied his request for appointment of another attorney, partly saying Romaine has not shown his case is likely to succeed and that he hasn’t found a new lawyer because he is “unwilling” to pay a retainer.