Thursday, September 12, 2013

Allegations against former Montana Highway Patrol chief uglier than previously revealed

According to an email Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Glenn Quinnell sent to a superior officer in Aug. 2011, former MHP chief Col. Kenton Hickethier’s comments and behavior at a law enforcement conference in Arizona were pretty obscene.

I’m publishing the entire civil rights complaint case file below in DocumentCloud format so you can read it for yourself. I highlighted some of the most offensive content. WARNING: The documents contain obscene language that may offend some readers.

As the Tribune reported on Sept. 11, Quinnell accused Hickethier of sexual harassment, ordering state troopers to make illegal arrests and making racist comments, and then retaliating against him after he brought Hickethier’s actions to the attention of his superiors.

Hickethier retired from MHP on Aug. 30 after his comments were revealed to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s office. Fox’s spokesman said Fox did not ask Hickethier to resign, but Hickethier offered up his retirement citing his inability to lead by example after making such “inappropriate” comments.

Fox appointed Hickethier in January 2013. Fox’s spokesman said Hickethier’s application, references and reputation gave the hiring team no indication that they ought to check out his personnel file.

According to the state’s response to Quinnell’s allegations, the now-retired MHP chief doesn’t deny he said and did the things Quinnell alleges, including making a seriously offensive comment about Quinnell’s wife, making a racist statement about Quinnell havening dinner with black troopers from another state, and a mean-spirited “joke” about an overweight speaker at the conference.


The state Department of Justice, in a 19-page response, admits to the majority of Quinnell’s allegations about Hickethier’s behavior, but denies Hickethier retaliated against Quinnell.

The state denies that Quinnell was “passed over” for promotion. The state argues Quinnell was not promoted because he was not among the most qualified and highest-scoring applicants for the various positions.



(Click this box on the DocumentCloud viewers below to view the documents in a separate window.)

Here is Quinnell’s amended human rights complaint:

Here’s the state’s response to Quinnell’s complaint, which includes the email Quinnell sent to his superiors in Aug. 2011. WARNING: This is the document that contains the offensive language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Here’s Quinnell’s rebuttal to the state’s response:

1 comment:

Colleen Peterson said...

Do you plan to ask Steve Bullock why he promoted Hickethier to the rank of major after Quinnell made the worst of this known in 2011?

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