Gay London Cop Monitored on Grindr:: Resigns and Sues for Homophobia
A former London cop who says that his fellow officers forced him to resign is now suing the Metropolitan Police for discrimination based on racism and homophobia that he said drove him into depression to the point of becoming suicidal.
According to the Daily Mail, 36-year-old Special Branch Detective Kevin Maxwell said that fellow officers discriminated against him for years. He also said that an ex-member of Scotland Yard's Vetting Unit told him that his social networking sites, especially Grindr, were being monitored.
"Clearly this made me feel uncomfortable," he told the Mail. "As an out gay man I was offended. I know many police officers who are gay and not necessarily 'out' at work, who use these types of 'lawful' social networking applications."
This isn't Maxwell's first time suing, either; he won a suit against the force in 2011, when he said that he was being continuously discriminated against, and senior officers who had "already made the strategic decision" to fire him. In January 2012, A Reading Employment Tribunal found that Maxwell had been subject to 41 counts of discrimination, harassment and victimization.
After the tribunal, officers allegedly commented on a police website that, "If I couldn't hack it in the police, why didn't I become a hairdresser or cabin crew."
Maxwell had served with the force's Special Operations Counter Terrorism Command, but was taken off work in 2009, after being diagnosed with clinical depression. When he tried to return from sick leave in December 2011, he was told that he would need to go through additional vetting. Maxwell said that this was a breach of guidelines, and a return to the harassment he had suffered.
"The long-term strategy of the Metropolitan Police was not only in retaliation for my employment tribunal claims, but also an attempt to mitigate any negative publicity and damage to the MPS's reputation caused by my claims, by harming my own reputation through a formal finding of poor performance or misconduct, to deter me from continuing with my employment tribunal, employment appeal tribunal, claims and defense," Maxwell told the Daily Mail.
Maxwell said that his superiors destroyed his police career by posting him to a destination in south east London, an hour's commute away, despite his psychological problems with public transport; sending him on missions whenever he sat down to a hot meal; and ostracisizing him whenever he entered a room. He eventually resigned, and said that a "racist" was promoted in his place.
Gay Star News also reports that Maxwell claimed that The Sun newspaper threatened to publish a damaging story about him after he raised cries of discrimination.
"The leak by News Corp to the Met tried to discredit me and stop my complaints, the tabloid intending to make public my sexuality, illness and terrorism intelligence role," said Maxwell.
The Met denies the allegations as the tribunal continues. But Maxwell said that it didn't matter at this point what the outcome was, as the discrimination cost him his home, his job and and his partner of five years.
"They destroyed my career," said Maxwell. "It doesn't matter what might happen at the end of the tribunal."