PHILADELPHIA – A community relations officer for a Philadelphia Police Department precinct is accused of repeatedly removing his pants in the middle of the office, according to a lawsuit.
Jose Dones, a 32-year veteran of the force who works for the police department’s 26th District, is accused in a federal lawsuit filed by Officer Kelly Neal, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Neal, a 16-year veteran of the force, alleges she was demoted and returned to street duty, partially in retaliation for her complaints about Dones, according to the newspaper.
According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on March 30, 2020, Dones “removed his pants, directly and behind” Neal in the middle of the open office. Neal alleged that Dones stood in his boxer shorts, instead of using the locker room or bathroom to change clothes, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also alleges that despite complaints by female workers in the office, Dones was allegedly caught on camera “publicly disrobing and removing his clothes to stand in his underwear” on four occasions.
Neal was unable to file the lawsuit until June 2022 because she had been waiting for a decision on her complaint from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC took no action but issued a right-to-sue letter in March.
According to the lawsuit, Neal claims she was reassigned in December 2020 when she returned to work after contracting COVID-19. She added that she was moved from the Victim Assistance Desk and placed on street duty in part for her complaint and from contracting the virus, the lawsuit alleges.
Neither Dones nor his attorneys responded this week to requests for comment by the Inquirer.
In an Oct. 24, 2022, court filing, Angela Lee Velez, an attorney representing Dones, said the video recording of the officer “was done without his permission and/or consent, potentially in violation of the law or city policy.”
Velez also denied that Dones did anything wrong and said he acted “without any malicious intent.”
“Any alleged damages or losses, if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiff’s own acts, omissions, or conduct,” Velez’s filing states.
Neal is seeking $150,000 in damages, according to court records.
Neal’s attorney, J. Conor Corcoran, said his client lodged a complaint with the police department’s internal affairs office but said that an investigation is still pending.
“We’re going to take it to a jury and see what they have to say about Mr. Fruit Of The Loom,” Corcoran told the Inquirer.
Dones has been praised in the 26th District’s social media accounts for his work in the community. He does share the same name with an Internet-famous go-go dancer that frequently appears pantless online, but it is not the same person, the newspaper reported.
No trial date has been set.