A female police sergeant who is suing the city of Dayton for gender discrimination was fired this month for allegedly falsifying information and being “untruthful” with city staff, according to disciplinary records in her personnel file.
Sgt. Tonina Lamanna in August did not tell the truth when she was asked during an interview if she accessed the personnel information of police Chief Richard Biehl and police officer Willie Hooper, according to a discharge order from the city manager and police department.
But Lamanna’s attorney claims she was likely terminated in retaliation for filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination.
“I worked hard for the city of Dayton for 17 years, and I never got any discipline until I started complaining about the unfair treatment I was receiving,” Lamanna said in a prepared statement.
The city discharged Lamanna on Oct. 3 after finding that she violated three of the police department’s rules of conduct, which say police officers cannot knowingly falsify any report, document or record, according to the report in her personnel file.
The city found Lamanna falsified a special report by indicating she accessed Biehl’s information through a management information system after seeing a report from this news organization about the chief’s service weapon being stolen, according to the civil service findings.
The chief was disciplined after an internal investigation revealed the firearm was taken from his vehicle, and that his vehicle was likely unlocked.
The city also found she was not truthful during an interview when she indicated she did not access Biehl’s personnel information, according to the findings and order of the city manager and director of police.
“If an investigation reveals that an officer has violated this section, their employment with the Dayton Police Department will be terminated,” according to the police department’s rules of conduct.
Lamanna and her attorney Chanda Brown did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
A city spokesperson said the city does not comment on ongoing litigation or personnel matters.
Lamanna plans to appeal her termination and file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wrongful termination, according to a release from Columbus firm Walton + Brown, LLP, which is representing Lamanna in her civil lawsuit.
Lamanna was the first female ever in the patrol operations division of the K-9 Unit, her attorney states.
According to the suit, Lamanna served as Dayton police’s first female canine handler starting in January 2011 — after filing a charge of discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission
Lamanna claims in the lawsuit she was asked inappropriate questions such as what she would do if she got pregnant.
Lamanna’s lawsuit, which seeks in excess of $75,000 in damages, claims she was not being hired for jobs for which she was the most qualified.
Lamanna also “has been subjected to harassment since she initially filed her first complaint” and “the harassment intensified” regarding the civil service exam, according to her federal complaint.
The Dayton Police Department’s highest-ranking black, female officer also has sued the department for allegedly engaging in discriminatory practices. The officer is also being represented by Walton +Brown.