Bernadine Kennedy Kent and James Whitaker have filed suit against the city of Columbus, including its police chief, city attorney and chief litigator Glenn Redick, over being placed on the Columbus Police Department’s Chronic Complainers List. Kent and Whitaker are widely acknowledged for helping to break the data scrubbing scandal at the Columbus Public Schools. Also, they initiated the investigation by Ohio Auditor David Yost into the theft of federal No Child Left Behind funds earmarked for tutoring centers servicing low-income children. One felony conviction of a tutoring “vendor” has resulted from their whistle-blowing activities.
  Kent and Whitaker run a nonprofit advocacy service called Parent Advocates for Students in School (PASS). In 2006 when Kent and Whitaker alerted school officials of data manipulation, school attorney Loren Braverman called the cops on the couple. The police subsequently placed them on a “Chronic Complainers List” designed to ignore any criticism of police behavior.
  In 2012, it came to their attention that two young black girls were being sexually assaulted. Columbus Police Officer Lt. Gantt refused to file their criminal complaint regarding the incident. Despite state law mandating that rape be reported, the Columbus Police have contended that they have the discretion, regardless of evidence, to not file a criminal complaint.
  Kent initially filed a federal lawsuit, which was dismissed with the court pointing out that the proper place to sue was state court. Kent and Whitaker are now representing themselves pro se in a defamation case against the city.
  “We hope to accomplish clearing our names after they’ve put us on the police list,” said Kent. She and Whitaker sued City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer, Chief Jacobs and Assistant City Attorney Redick in their individual capacity. Even though they are not being sued as city employees, all the defendants are represented by Redick pro se, although court filings indicate that he is using city resources to represent them.
  On August 18. Kent and Whitaker filed a notice to the court accusing Redick of theft in office under Ohio law ORC 2921.41. They argue that Redick’s continual use of city of Columbus resources as a pro se litigant represents illegal theft. Earlier, they filed notice to the court charging that Redick was violating ORC 102.03 (A)(1) which state that: “No present or former public official or employee shall, during public employment or service or for 12 months thereafter, represent a client or act in a representative capacity for any person or any matter in which the public official or employee personally participated as a public official….”
  Redick also represented Gantt in the federal lawsuit. “Redick hasn’t shown the court anything documenting he’s authorized to use city resources or represent the city attorney and police chief,” said Kent, “And all of this is based on the fact that they didn’t want to investigate legitimate charges of rape against black girls.”

Bob Fitrakis represented Kent and Whitaker in their federal lawsuit against the city of Columbus.

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