by: David Ham Updated:
BONNEY LAKE, Wash. - Two former police officers believe they lost their careers because of a fellow cop.
"It's all washed away because of one person," said Terry Carter, a former Bonney Lake police officer.
Terry Carter and Eric Weinreich weren't rookie cops.
They've won awards and have been commended for their almost 30 years of work on the streets.
The two officers blame one man: James Keller.
Keller is the current Assistant Chief of Bonney Lake police, and both Carter and Weinreich say Keller lied about them.
"It's hard to put into words what somebody's false statement can do to your life," said Weinreich.
Weinreich was a police officer in Black Diamond.
He said he lost his job after Keller accused him of saying damaging things about the Black Diamond Police Chief -- which Weinreich denies.
In Carter's case, Keller was his supervisor.
He said Keller first became angry with him for taking a lunch break and having another officer cover a call.
From there, complaints escalated.
"It was a year of complaints of Keller or around Keller as being a witness in and participating in the investigation," said Carter.
They believe their careers were ruined based Keller's word, but his word may not even stand up in court.
Keller is on what's called a Brady List.
It's a list prosecutors keep of officers who have sustained instances of lying on the job.
KIRO 7 obtained internal investigations into Keller from when he was a King County sheriff’s deputy.
During that time, his honesty was repeatedly questioned.
In 2004, the sheriff simply said he did not "fully believe" Keller's account regarding the night an informant said Keller and other officers beat him, then drove him to the Green River and threatened to throw him in.
Keller was suspended for 20 days without pay.
"He needs to be removed from the police office. He has no business carrying a badge," said Carter.
In 2007, Keller left the department before a misconduct investigation concluded.
Deputies found Keller wrote a fraudulent report and was dishonest about detaining a woman.
So, why would Bonney Lake hire and later promote an officer with that history?
When we went to Bonney Lake City Hall for answers, City Administrator Don Morrison first said the city didn't know Keller was on the list.
But we discovered a sworn affidavit from the Bonney Lake police officer who did the background check into Keller before he was hired.
The officer writes he informed his superiors about Keller's sustained misconduct in King County.
We showed the document to Morrison and asked him who was lying.
Morrison said, "Let me tell you, because there's one alleged incident that happened in King County 15 years ago, that's evidence that he has a history of lying? Give me a break."
There is a more recent incident involving Keller.
In 2010, a judge granted a Bonney Lake family a restraining order against Keller. They said he was harassing them.
Keller and the City of Bonney Lake fought to get the restraining order expunged. They lost the case, which was closed just last month.
We went to find Keller at the police department.
After we were told he wasn't available, he called back but would not agree to an on-camera interview.
Over the phone, Keller said that he did not believe he was responsible for Carter or Weinreich losing their jobs. He told us to look into internal investigations into the former officers’ conduct.
However, those investigations showed that Keller was linked to many statements involving Carter and Weinreich.
"I feel like he lied to the city and the city continued to give him credibility to do whatever he wanted," said Carter.
We asked Morrison if he thinks Keller's past calls into question the integrity of the police department.
"Absolutely not, he's doing an exceptional job for us," Morrison said.
Keller told us he didn't force out either officer, though many of the internal investigations into Weinreich and Carter are linked to Keller.
Prior to Weinreich's conflict with Keller, Weinreich had no sustained misconduct for dishonesty.
But because of the incident involving Keller, Weinreich was put on the Brady List.
Carter and Weinreich hope to clear their names and get back into local law enforcement one day.
Both men say they plan to file lawsuits against Bonney Lake.