Sergeant claims he is being forced out of Springfield Police

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - An attorney representing a Springfield Police sergeant notified the city of intent to sue.

The tort claim notice, which informs a government body of intent to file suit, claims Sgt. John Umenhofer has suffered intentional infliction of severe emotional distress at the city, among other accusations.

Neither Umenhofer nor his attorney could be reached for comment Saturday.

The claim comes in the wake of Chief Jerry Smith's departure. Smith retired suddenly in March. Months later, the public learned Smith left after the City Manager received video footage of Smith kissing a subordinate employee.

The City had said at least two other department employees were under investigation as a result of the video and Smith's departure. Those employees have not been named.

Umenhofer has not been at work in recent weeks and says he was forced out, according to the tort claim. He seeks damages for intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, wrongful constructive discharge, violation of the Oregon Whistleblower Act, defamation and false light, according to the claim his attorney sent the city. His attorney worte that Umenhofer has faced a hostile and even dangerous work environment.

A spokesman for City of Springfield said Umenhofer is still employed there and that a third party will evaluate the claim for the city.

"The truth is, I mean, everybody likes John, we just we have a disagreement right now with how things have been handled," Niel Laudati with the City of Springfield said. "You know the tort claim as you've read it, it's very vague and doesn't have many details in it. And it doesn't seem to be written in a way that has some specifics on what Sgt. Umenhoffer is looking for."