A former Montgomery police officer is claiming she faced retaliation and was ultimately fired by the Montgomery Police Department (MPD) after refusing to have an affair with Montgomery Police Chief Darryl J. Albert.
Renee Helton, a former MPD officer, said she was fired from the MPD after a period of poor treatment for refusing to engage in a sexual relationship with Albert. She claims her termination came months after filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the MPD.
In an audio recording provided to 1819 News by Helton from an appearance on the News Radio 1440's Decisions with Kevin Elkins, Helton, her attorney, Mickey McDermott, and Marcus Webster, Helton's fiancé, who says he left the MPD in December last year after 18 years, gave their side of the story.
Helton detailed events in which Albert allegedly propositioned her for a sexual relationship, which she reportedly declined since Albert is married. After the relationship between Marcus and Helton became public, the pair claimed they were subject to retaliation. Helton claims Mayor Steven Reed was made aware of the EEOC complaint on Aug. 4, 2023, and that three uniformed police officers served her termination paperwork at home with a notice signed by Reed on Nov. 29, 2023.
"When she complained about how she was being treated because she would not have this illicit affair, everything was done to destroy her," McDermott said. "She delivered her complaints through her chain of command. She delivered to the city of Montgomery proof that she was being targeted because she would not violate the sanctity of our chief's marriage. She would not participate in that behavior. …She took these same complaints with documents to the mayor's office. We just had our State of the City address last night; sorry we didn't mention this little problem. No one from the city of Montgomery has reached out to help this city employee, and that's why I'm here."
He continued, "Our mayor has done nothing to protect a female citizen and a female employee under his command. Because the chief of police is her commander, but the mayor is her commander as well."
Helton said Albert allegedly made sexually suggestive comments despite clear indications of disinterest.
"This chief, Darryl Albert, wanted to have sex with me, wanted to engage in a sexual relationship with me, and every time he would comment, he would revert back to, 'Oh, I know you just want to be professional,'" Helton said. So you know that I'm not leading you on. You know that I have no intentions to sleep with you, but you steadily keep pushing the envelope. You tell me to come to your house. You tell me you're going to lean over and kiss me at the Faulkner benefit dinner. You told me to open up my legs so you could put your hands in there and feel what you're going to feel. You told me you wanted to be all up in me, on me, and over me, and [that] I would be honored to sleep with him."
Helton also pointed out accusations of sexual misconduct from Albert's previous position at the New Orleans Police Department, for which he was criticized when he was appointed to the MPD job in 2022. Helton vehemently defended herself against claims that she had vindictive motivations.
"This is no vengeance," Helton said. "This is strictly a monster that was brought from New Orleans with the same allegations, with the same charges, and brought here by the mayor who knew this."
Helton said she provided Reed, his chief of staff Chip Hill and other city staff with text messages from Albert along with her EEOC complaint in August 2023.
"The whole chain of command knows about this," Helton said. "But yet this man is allowed to be in charge of the [MPD]. This is who you're telling me is the standard – is who we should be led by."
Chip Hill told 1819 News, "the city cannot comment on legal proceedings," which is common among government officials undergoing litigation.
After submitting her EEOC complaint, Helton claimed two city investigators told her that "the city is always going to protect the city." She also claimed Albert boasted of getting the chief's position due to being Reed's cousin.
Webster, Helton's fiancée, also claimed to have faced retaliation from Albert and others in MPD command after his relationship with Helton became public. While he gave no specifics of what form the retaliation came in, Webster described the environment of MPD as "toxic."
McDermott told 1819 News that the EOCC complaint allows the federal government to investigate that matter, which enables employees to file complaints that the U.S. Department of Labor investigates. McDermott is representing Helton as a lawyer for the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) due to her firing. However, another attorney is handling the federal EOCC complaint.
"The federal government will do one of three things: they will say you have no claim and close the case; they will say you have a claim, and we will give you what's known as a 'right to sue' letter, and that will give you an opportunity to file a lawsuit against the agency or employer; and finally they may find that the conduct was so illegal and so egregious, the United States federal government may sue on your behalf," McDermott said. "We are waiting for a determination to be made in [Helton's] case."
Rumors have swirled for over a month about alleged sexual misconduct from Albert. After online speculation ran rampant last week that Albert had resigned over the allegations, Chip Hill posted a video of a meeting between him and Albert, quipping that "99% of what's written on social media is just pure BS."
"That was truly unfortunate on their part," McDermott told 1819 News. "But you can understand they're attempting to protect their own assets... The city has not responded [and] has not contacted her or myself as of yet."
While giving few details, McDermott said "numerous" others have brought similar complaints against the city and Albert, and he "anticipates more."
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