LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The sheriff’s deputy who arrested Mel Gibson in 2006 for DUI is facing termination from the department, but a sheriff’s spokesman strongly denied Wednesday that the action was an act of retaliation related to that arrest.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said he could not comment about the planned dismissal of Deputy James Mee, calling it a “personnel issue.” However, he rejected allegations that Mee was being targeted because of the Gibson arrest.
“I can say that it’s not retaliation,” Whitmore told City News Service. “We completely disagree with the characterization that’s being offered. It has nothing to do with Mel Gibson.”
According to TMZ, Mee received a letter from the department saying he was being fired for allegedly violating procedure by engaging in a high-speed pursuit that ended in an explosion.
The department accused Mee of failing to notify emergency officials about a crash and lying to his superiors about his involvement in the wreck, according to the report. However, Mee’s attorney, Richard Shinee, told the website “Mee did promptly reach out for help.”
“Nobody in the history of the sheriff’s department has ever been fired for allegedly violating the pursuit policy,” Shinee told TMZ. He called the accusations “trumped up charges calculated to vindicate their wrath against him.”
“This final act of retaliation falls on the heels of a series of retaliatory acts by the sheriff’s department,” Shinee said.
Mee and his attorney have contended that the deputy was retaliated against in the aftermath of Gibson’s arrest. According to Shinee, the department believes Mee is the person who leaked four pages of Gibson’s arrest report, which contained details of the actor’s rant, to TMZ.
A personnel hearing is scheduled for Mee on Thursday, according to TMZ.