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Former police sergeant sues Greece over ‘retaliation’ after Forsythe DWAI crash

todayMarch 5, 2024 2

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A former Greece police sergeant is suing the Town of Greece, claiming he faced a pattern of retaliation after former Chief Drew Forsythe’s DWAI crash.

In his lawsuit against the town, Bryan Root claims he was passed over for promotion 11 times because he took pictures of Forsythe’s wrecked car the day after the crash and gave them to someone else, who gave them to the media.

The Greece Police Department told Root he was under investigation for spending “extended periods of time” at his home while on duty and failing to respond to criminal activity in his own neighborhood, according to Root’s lawsuit.

Forsythe resigned and pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired and leaving the scene of a property damage accident in connection to the October 2021 crash. Prosecutors said he was driving a police-issued vehicle drunk around 1:30 a.m. when he crashed into a guardrail, kept driving for roughly six miles until his car had only one working wheel, then claimed he swerved to avoid a deer.

The Greece police officers who arrived to the scene did not make Forsythe take any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests.

The lawsuit claims the Town of Greece attempted to cover up Forsythe’s crash, “presumably to lessen any impact it could have on its Town Supervisor’s re-election bid.” It also claims attorney Karlee Bolaños, representing the town, threatened Root with arrest for “meddling with public election laws.”

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich, who won his reelection campaign days after the crash, later received an anonymous complaint about ATVs and gambling in Root’s neighborhood, according to the lawsuit. It also mentioned Root’s GPD fleet vehicle being parked at his home.

“Our primary concern relates to the allegation that you were at your home while you were supposed to be on duty as a Sergeant,” Root was told in August, 2023, according to his lawsuit. He was suspended with pay on August 31 pending the results of an investigation into that allegation.

Root resigned in early September. In his lawsuit, he claims Greece Police Chief Michael Wood reported him removed for cause due to “dishonesty, felony offense, and gross misconduct.” As a result, his basic training certification was invalidated, leaving him unable to be hired as a police officer.

“Don’t conduct rogue investigations of your colleagues,” the lawsuit claims Wood said in an email sent to the entire police department after Root resigned.

Root is asking the court to order his reason for leaving GPD be reclassified from “removed for cause” to “resignation.” He’s also asking for lost wages and benefits, along with attorney’s fees and costs.

News 8 has reached out to the Town of Greece and has yet to receive a response.

Read the claim

Another Greece police officer, Casey Voelkl, also filed a lawsuit against the Town of Greece, Greece Police Department, Supervisor Bill Reilich, and Deputy Supervisor Michelle Marini claiming he was retaliated against after Forsythe’s crash.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A former Greece police sergeant is suing the Town of Greece, claiming he faced a pattern of retaliation after former Chief Drew Forsythe’s DWAI crash.

In his lawsuit against the town, Bryan Root claims he was passed over for promotion 11 times because he took pictures of Forsythe’s wrecked car the day after the crash and gave them to someone else, who gave them to the media.

The Greece Police Department told Root he was under investigation for spending “extended periods of time” at his home while on duty and failing to respond to criminal activity in his own neighborhood, according to Root’s lawsuit.

Forsythe resigned and pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired and leaving the scene of a property damage accident in connection to the October 2021 crash. Prosecutors said he was driving a police-issued vehicle drunk around 1:30 a.m. when he crashed into a guardrail, kept driving for roughly six miles until his car had only one working wheel, then claimed he swerved to avoid a deer.

The Greece police officers who arrived to the scene did not make Forsythe take any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests.

The lawsuit claims the Town of Greece attempted to cover up Forsythe’s crash, “presumably to lessen any impact it could have on its Town Supervisor’s re-election bid.” It also claims attorney Karlee Bolaños, representing the town, threatened Root with arrest for “meddling with public election laws.”

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich, who won his reelection campaign days after the crash, later received an anonymous complaint about ATVs and gambling in Root’s neighborhood, according to the lawsuit. It also mentioned Root’s GPD fleet vehicle being parked at his home.

“Our primary concern relates to the allegation that you were at your home while you were supposed to be on duty as a Sergeant,” Root was told in August, 2023, according to his lawsuit. He was suspended with pay on August 31 pending the results of an investigation into that allegation.

Root resigned in early September. In his lawsuit, he claims Greece Police Chief Michael Wood reported him removed for cause due to “dishonesty, felony offense, and gross misconduct.” As a result, his basic training certification was invalidated, leaving him unable to be hired as a police officer.

“Don’t conduct rogue investigations of your colleagues,” the lawsuit claims Wood said in an email sent to the entire police department after Root resigned.

Root is asking the court to order his reason for leaving GPD be reclassified from “removed for cause” to “resignation.” He’s also asking for lost wages and benefits, along with attorney’s fees and costs.

News 8 has reached out to the Town of Greece and has yet to receive a response.

Read the claim

Bryan-Root-v-Town-of-GreeceDownload

Another Greece police officer, Casey Voelkl, also filed a lawsuit against the Town of Greece, Greece Police Department, Supervisor Bill Reilich, and Deputy Supervisor Michelle Marini claiming he was retaliated against after Forsythe’s crash. Read More GreeceRochesterFirst  

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