WASHINGTON, November 1, 2017 – Terrell Owens is the new Chief of the Memphis VA Police Department, according to an internal announcement last month.
“Please join me in welcoming Terrell Owens in the new role as Chief of Police,” an internal memo signed by Memphis VA Medical Center medical director David Dunning; Owens’ first day as chief was October 15, 2017.
As CDN previously reported, Owens has allegedly harassed Sean Higgins, a former Memphis VA employee, and frequent whistle-blower.
Higgins has been credited with more than thirty disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse. Despite being fired three times, Higgins has been able to regain his job on two occasions.
Higgins is currently appealing his latest termination.
“Based on actions of Asst. Chief of Police Mr. Terrell Owens, I no longer feel safe at the Memphis VA,” Higgins said in an email to hospital management on April 20, 2017, “Officer Owens has made a concerted effort to harass, intimidate and retaliate against me for my protected disclosures. These are the actions of the current Asst. Chief of Police since the beginning of my employment at the Memphis VA.”
“In April 19, 2017, I was accosted and verbally assaulted by the action Chief of Police Terrell Owens outside the elevators when Officer Owens approached me in an aggressive manner, pointing his finger in my face and demanding that I lower my voice and then took a posture as if he was going to attack me. This was witnessed by VA employee Bobby Bonds and Mr. Marshall Harris NAGE (National Association of Government Employees) union President.”
Memphis VA denies harassment allegations
Responding to a request for information, Willie Logan, public affairs officer for the Memphis VA, said Owens could not have been retaliating against Higgins for his disclosures because he wasn’t a superior.
“The Chief of Police at the Memphis VA Medical Center was not in Mr. Higgins’ supervisory chain and for that reason could not retaliate against him.
“VA does not tolerate retaliation. Any employees who feel they are experiencing retaliation should contact the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.”
Higgins feel otherwise, telling CDN in an email:
“This is nothing more than a reward for his part in harassing a known WB (whistle-blower).”
Memphis VA mismanagement plague continues
The news comes at a difficult time for the Memphis VA.
In September, the USA Today wrote a scathing expose which revealed that things had gotten so bad there that it was one of four- out of 150 hospitals in the system- VA hospitals which required weekly briefings.