In mid-October, a Newport News police officer filed suit in federal district court, alleging that local government officials had violated his constitutional right to due process of law. The case is styled Hall v. City of Newport News.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires state and local governments to respect all rights, procedural and substantive, owed to individuals by law. When an individual believes that the government deprived him of a legal right, he can invoke the Fourteenth Amendment and sue the government for acting in an unconstitutional manner.
A due process violation is one of the allegations in Hall v. Newport News. In that case, Officer Hall was fired after two civilian complaints were filed against him in January 2007. He appealed that firing, and a grievance panel voted to reinstate him in October 2007. The city refused to re-hire Hall, and he remained out of work until a circuit court judge ordered the city to re-hire him in September 2008. Hall was not reinstated until November 2008, after the circuit court judge threatened the city with contempt orders. When he was finally reinstated, Hall was relegated to the records department and forbidden from making arrests, as he had in the past. The damage that Officer Hall alleges is the decreased chance for promotion in light of this treatment. Furthermore, the city has yet to pay Hall for the months between his successful appeal before the grievance panel and his actual reinstatement, a period of 13 months. Officer Hall is asking the federal trial court to award him $5 million for the deprivation of his rights and the damage to his reputation and job opportunities.