*Monica Blake, an African-American police officer in Nashville has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit Friday against the Metro Nashville government and one of the police department’s commanders.
In the lawsuit, Blake accused the department of retaliating against her after she reported being raped by a fellow officer.
On May 2, 2016, Officer Blake, 36, was allegedly strangled and sexually assaulted by Officer Julian Pirtle, in her home while he was drunk, according to the lawsuit.
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As reported by yahoo.com, Blake had been romantically involved with Pirtle “off-and-on for a number of years,” but the attack left her “terrified” to the point that she thought Pirtle was going to kill her. She did not immediately report the incident but cut off communication with the man.
Here’s more from abcnews.go.com:
On May 10, 2016, Pirtle showed up to McKissack Middle School, where Blake was assigned as a school resource officer, to talk to her about what happened, the civil complaint stated. Blake “surreptitiously” recorded the conversation, which included Pirtle allegedly admitting to choking her, as well as him referring to himself as “a killer” and “The Hulk,” according to the court document. Blake then reported the attack to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, but did not disclose that she was raped until May 23, 2016.
The next day, Pirtle was charged with aggravated domestic assault and decommissioned. A temporary order of protection was also issued against him and he was later charged with rape.
In January of this year, Pirtle pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but the rape charge against him was dropped, criminal records showed. He was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to stay away from Blake.
Blake claims she was retaliated against after she reported the attack. Her lawsuit names the Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County and Cmdr. Janet Marlene Pardue as defendants.
Blake, who has served in the police department since 2005, says the department has discriminated against her for years based on race and gender. Her attorney, Kyle Mothershead, outlined examples of the officer’s complaints to Yahoo Lifestyle. She also alleges in the lawsuit that Nashville police policies infringe on her right to free speech.
“I had executed every single channel for the police department that you are supposed to make complaints to, yet when I need those complaints, nothing happened,” said Blake.
She told ABC News she filed the lawsuit after exhausting “every possible way to try and resolve the conflict.”
“But, because of the culture of the police department, at every turn, either the complaints fell on deaf ears, or inadequate investigations would occur, or they would not include me in the investigation at all,” she said.
Blake hopes the lawsuit would “hold the people who have done wrong accountable for their actions,” as well as change the culture within the police department.
“We can’t call ourselves the guardians of Nashville and not stand up in every situation,” she said.