Several female Mesa police officers plan to file a lawsuit against the city of Mesa because they let a superior keep his job after they claimed he sexually harassed them.
The group claims that the city didn’t properly investigate and discipline Sgt. Jeffrey Neese.
Officer Amanda Cook said that she started receiving inappropriate text messages from Neese in March 2018.
In one of the texts, Neese thanked Cook for a hug and told her it gave him “something more to think about in private moments.”
Cook said that Neese continued to send these types of text messages for almost a week. At the time, she was new to the police force and was afraid that complaining about him would backfire.
“I felt like nobody would believe me. Nobody would even care,” she said. “How did I stop this conversation from happening without jeopardizing the rest of my career?”
Cook said that Neese stopped sending her messages once she stopped responding to them.
In March 2019, Cook found out that Neese was removed from his SWAT assignment because other women complained about receiving sexual messages from him.
Mesa Police Det. Ashley Elliff is one of the other women who said she received inappropriate text messages from Neese. She claimed she received texts from Neese in August 2017, but didn’t come forward at the time because she felt embarrassed. She finally came forward a year later after she found out that a friend and fellow officer had received similar messages from Neese.
According to a Human Resources report made on May 23, 2019, Neese said he didn’t remember sending Cook those text messages and that they were likely fake texts created with an app.
Human Resources sustained the accusations against Neese after a forensics firm verified that the texts sent from his phone weren’t fabricated or altered.
Cook said that even though Neese doesn’t have authority anymore, he still poses a risk to other women.