Lawsuit Over Agent’s Firing Exposes Iowa Police Agency Mess
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An investigator fired after complaining about routine speeding by the governor’s state vehicle claims he faced harsher discipline than other employees because he embarrassed then-Gov. Terry Branstad.
Former Division of Criminal Investigation agent Larry Hedlund was removed from duty in 2013, days after he reported that an SUV in which Branstad and current Gov. Kim Reynolds were riding was speeding and complained to superiors that it was a safety hazard. He was soon fired for what his bosses called insubordination that they say began before the speeding.
In documents part of a wrongful termination lawsuit, Hedlund’s lawyers argue that other Iowa Department of Public Safety supervisors committed more serious infractions but suffered lesser consequences.
The trial in April looms at an awkward time for Reynolds, who is running for re-election.