A Nashville police officer who reported a fellow officer for allegedly sexually assaulting her two years ago has filed a federal suit against her department after she said her supervisor retaliated professionally against her for breaking the “blue code” by speaking out about the incident.
Officer Monika Blake, 36, had previously alleged that fellow officer Julian Pirtle strangled and sexually assaulted her while drunk in May, 2016 — an incident that she said left her in fear for her life and ended what had once been an “off-and-on” romantic relationship between the two.
Initially, the suit claims, she tried to report the matter internally. But after seeing no signs of accountability, Blake allegedly recorded Pirtle admitting to her that he choked her and referring to himself as “a killer” and “The Hulk.” After she came forward with her allegations, Pirtle was charged with aggravated domestic assault and rape and decommissioned from the Nashville police force. But according to the lawsuit, Blake’s commanding officer, Janet Marlene Pardue, took exception to her decision to speak out, and retaliated by filing complaints against her, reassigning her to unwanted shifts, and even forcing her to use up her vacation time on morning shifts when she had to drop her kids at school.
The retaliation, Blake said, was “continuous” until Pardue decommissioned Blake on June 15, 2016 — just seven days after Blake reported Pirtle for violating an order of protection by texting her. In October 2017, Pardue also initiated two disciplinary investigations against Blake over her handling of a situation at McKissack Middle School — one for which she had already been exonerated, and another over footage that showed Blake had once lied about taking her utility belt off before entering her car. That same month, Pardue allegedly told Blake that she would be “indefinitely restricted from any secondary employment privileges” without providing the officer with any reason as to why or chance to contest the decision. According to the complaint, Pardue then approached Pirtle’s defense attorney in December 2017 to say that she would be “willing to testify on behalf of Pirtle by alleging that Officer Blake is a dishonest person.” In January, Pirtle pledged guilty to aggravated assault.
The lawsuit further alleges that Pardue showed sexist bias in personnelle decisions and open hostility to “African-Americans who raise the issue of racism in America.” The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has thus far declined to comment on the allegations.
Below, listed to Blake discuss her lawsuit during an appearance on a Nashville radio show.
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