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City of Boise ups contract with law firm in whistleblower case related to gun sales from BPD office

The City of Boise is doubling the cost of its contract with an outside firm in its move to defend itself against a lawsuit from a Boise Police Officer who claims he was retaliated against after he acted as a whistleblower. 

On Tuesday, Boise City Council approved a contract of up to $180,000 for Boise-based law firm JWFG to continue its work on the case, which dates back to 2018. Norman Carter, a current Boise Police officer, filed a whistleblower suit against the city alleging former Boise Police Lieutenant Greg Oster “openly” sold weapons, both to officers and to the public, through his private company out of his police department office. Carter also claimed Oster, who became his supervisor in 2015, retaliated against him after he raised concerns, and that other officials failed to prevent the retaliation.

Carter filed another complaint in court alleging the retaliation continued in response to his first complaint in 2019. A June 2018 report from Boise’s Human Resources Department found Oster acted unethically, but it also found that Carter had not been retaliated against at that time, according to the Idaho Press. 

This suit is a holdover from the administration of former mayor Dave Bieter. It is the second suit related to the police department from his time making its way through the court system, along with a federal suit from former Boise Police Officer trainee Sierra Berg stemming from her acting as a whistleblower after an incident at the police academy in 2019. The city settled the suit for $400,000 earlier this year. 

What’s next?

The case has been scheduled for a trial several times, but it has always been delayed. 

Lawyers for both sides have gone back and forth about several matters, including whether or not the city’s internal reports on Oster’s actions and Carter’s complaints should be part of the record.

The case is currently scheduled for a jury trial for early February 2023. 

City spokesperson Lana Graybeal declined to comment on the matter due to the pending lawsuit. 

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Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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