A Dallas Cop Who Shot Himself in the Leg Says His Bosses Keep Calling Him "Gimp"
It was in March 2011 that the insults began. Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, a 13-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department with a debilitating leg injury, says that's when his supervisors in the communications department began taunting him with names like "Gimp" and "peg leg" and the "one-legged general," which, when you think about it, are some really lazy and uncreative taunts.
Note to self: DO NOT TWIRL.
Worse, Pennie says, he was abruptly transferred to the jail, an assignment widely considered by officers to be a punishment. At the jail, he was forced to walk up and down stairs, was denied a nearby parking spot and generally received unfavorable treatment because of his disability. Pennie's repeated requests for the department to make reasonable accommodations for his injury were denied, and his superiors retaliated by launching an investigation that resulted in confidential medical information being leaked to his colleagues.
That's all according to a lawsuit Pennie filed against the city in November. In its response, the city denied his allegation, saying Pennie's bosses "acted in good faith within the scope of their official duties." Besides, the city argues, it's immune from lawsuit under rules that protect cities from claims of workers compensation retaliation.
If you're wondering how Pennie lost use of his limb: According to news reports out of Houston, he was visiting family there in February 2003. One night he and a relative were sitting in a car parked on a residential street in northwest Houston. One report says they were "examining" the Colt .45; another says they were "twirling" it. Either way, the gun fired, striking Pennie in the leg. He was taken to Ben Taub hospital for treatment.
With Pennie in the car that night was a bottle of pills that Houston police later determined to be ecstasy, which three out of four drug enthusiasts agree goes terribly with gun-twirling. There don't seem to be any follow-up stories indicating that charges were filed, but Pennie's continued employment with DPD suggests that he was never convicted of anything.