Crime & Courts

Judge tosses lawsuit from ex-Wichita cop who was subject of alleged police cover up

Wichita Police Officer Tiffany Dahlquist resigned from the department. Her attorney says she “is herself the victim of police misconduct.”
Wichita Police Officer Tiffany Dahlquist resigned from the department. Her attorney says she “is herself the victim of police misconduct.” File/The Wichita Eagle

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former Wichita police officer who contends her gender influenced how police investigated her after she was suspected in a hit-and-run collision with a teenager.

Tiffany Dahlquist last year sued the City of Wichita and police and public officials, claiming she was subjected to sexual discrimination in the ensuing investigation into the crash and later was harassed at work after her alleged involvement became public. Dahlquist denied sideswiping the teenage girl’s car on Sept. 11, 2016, after the teen called 911 and gave a dispatcher Dahlquist’s tag number. Police responded by launching what she says was an aggressive criminal probe that included interviewing restaurant employees about her alcohol consumption before the collision and gathering liquor store surveillance video that showed her buying a bottle of Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita.

Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Dahlquist, citing a lack of evidence. But the police department fired her the following February — saying she’d been untruthful about how much she drank — only to reinstate her four days later.

Dahlquist ultimately resigned from the Wichita Police Department in October 2017 and accepted a lower-paying job because she claims her work environment became hostile after The Eagle ran a story alleging the police department had covered up details of the collision.

In a written ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree said he was granting a request by the city and Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay to dismiss the case because Dahlquist’s complaints “fail to state a plausible claim for relief” under federal law. The judge also refused to take up her claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision and defamation, saying those could be handled in state court.

It was not immediately clear whether Dahlquist plans to file a separate lawsuit in state court. Her attorney did not return messages seeking comment.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.
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