A deputy police chief who was fired after investigating alleged wrongdoing by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his security unit can continue with a whistleblower lawsuit, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
The 7-0 decision also lets a former member of the mayor's security detail proceed with his whistleblower claim against the city and mayor.
Gary Brown was fired days before going public in 2003 with claims that he was dismissed from the Detroit Police Department for looking into allegations of drunken-driving accidents, falsified overtime records and a possible cover-up of incidents involving members of Kilpatrick's security unit.
Brown sent a memo about the allegations to Christine Beatty, Kilpatrick's chief of staff. Questions were raised in legal appeals about whether Brown and Harold Nelthrope, a former detective in the Executive Protection Unit, had to blow the whistle to an outside agency or higher authority.
Attorneys for Kilpatrick and the city argued that Brown merely carried out routine duties in preparing the memo.
But Justice Michael Cavanagh wrote for the majority that employees of a public body do not have to report violations to outside agencies.
"It does not matter if the public body to which the suspected violations were reported was also the employees' employer," Cavanagh said.
The whistleblower case is Brown v. Mayor of Detroit.