Michigan police chief accused of harassing male officers, sharing explicit details about his sex life

Bangor police Chief Tommy Simpson, mayor, city named in lawsuit

A Bangor Police Department vehicle.
A Bangor Police Department vehicle. (WOOD.TV)

BANGOR, Mich. – A Michigan police chief is being accused of harassing several male officers and sharing explicit details about his sex life, including stories about an officer from another department, a Notre Dame student and several residents in his jurisdiction.

Bangor police Chief Tommy Simpson, Mayor Darren Williams and the city are named in a criminal complaint filed on behalf of three current or former members of the police department.

The complaint includes stories from a 33-year-old Kalamazoo man, a 34-year-old Vicksburg man and a 50-year-old Bangor man.

WARNING: Some of the details shared in the below descriptions are graphic.

Chief shares intricate details of sex life

The 33-year-old Kalamazoo man listed as the first plaintiff in the case started working for the Bangor Police Department in 2017 as an officer and was later promoted to sergeant, acting chief, deputy and chief, according to the criminal complaint.

In the summer of 2018, that officer said he was asked by Simpson while they were riding in a patrol car whether he had ever considered being with a man sexually, the complaint reads.

The officer said Simpson discussed “various stories of his sexual experiences in explicit and inappropriate detail” on several occasions.

Simpson once told the officer and others that an officer in Berrien County once asked Simpson to urinate on his body, according to authorities.

Simpson told the 33-year-old officer that he had a boyfriend who was “a top” when they engaged in sex, the criminal complaint says. He also shared even more intricate details about his sex life with his boyfriend, the officer said.

Simpson would regularly -- most recently in January 2021 -- ride with the 33-year-old officer and talk about his sexual experiences with several Bangor residents, court records show.

Simpson told the officer that he had “hooked up” and received oral sex from a resident the two had arrested for a parole violation, authorities said.

Simpson shared a story about having sex with a married man at a home while they were driving past the home, according to the officer.

Court records indicate Simpson once told the officer that a man was looking for him during a 420 festival on April 20, 2019. Simpson said that he ended up having sex with that person, officials said.

The 33-year-old officer said Simpson once asked him about the 34-year-old officer involved in this case, asking, “Do you think (the 34-year-old officer) is well hung?”

In the summer oof 2020, while in the presence of other officers, Simpson shared a story about “hooking up” with a University of Notre Dame student in South Bend, Indiana, according to the criminal complaint.

In February 2021, Simpson told the 33-year-old officer that he has engaged in sexual contact, including oral sex, with a Bangor firefighter, court records show.

Harassment of 33-year-old officer

The 33-year-old officer also shared stories of being harassed by Simpson.

On May 13, 2019, the two went to a training in Lansing that required them to stay in a hotel overnight, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer said the following morning, Simpson told him that he had had sex with the hotel clerk and that the clerk was the “top” and he “took care of him.”

Simpson then told the officer that he could have watched the sexual acts if he had wanted to, court records say. Simpson said he would watch the officer engage in sexual acts with a woman, the officer said.

Records show Simpson became the Bangor city manager in the summer of 2020, and the 33-year-old officer was a sergeant and acting police chief. The officer was promoted to deputy chief, and then police chief in November 2020, according to records.

While he was conducting interviews as acting police chief in October 2020, the officer said Simpson asked to meet the candidates and whether they were attractive, the criminal complaint alleges.

The officer said Simpson told him he didn’t want to hire any more officers from Benton Harbor, “which has a large number of African American employees,” the criminal complaint reads.

When they stayed at another hotel in November 2020, Simpson told the 33-year-old officer, “You can come cuddle if you want. I won’t mind,” according to court records. The officer said he faked sleeping to avoid confrontation.

The next morning, the two were getting ready to leave and Simpson told the officer that he had found someone who wanted to watch the officer have sex with his wife while Simpson performed another act, the complaint alleges. “You fell asleep though,” Simpson said, according to the officer.

Mayor’s involvement

The complaint says Simpson demoted the officer as acting chief and didn’t allow him to effectively perform the duties of the position.

According to court records, a Bangor city employee filed a sexual harassment complaint on the 33-year-old officer’s behalf in March 2021. After Williams received the complaints, the officer admitted they were his, officials said.

Williams called the officer several times to arrange a meeting, records show.

“By all information and belief, Simpson and Mayor Williams have a close, personal relationship,” the criminal complaint says.

When the officer went to city hall March 12 to meet with Williams, he prepared a detailed complaint about Simpson’s harassment and inappropriate detail, authorities said.

The officer was immediately terminated from his job by Williams during the meeting, the complaint alleges.

Racial bias allegations

The 34-year-old officer named as a plaintiff is a Black man who says he has regularly been passed over for promotions in favor of White officers with fewer qualifications and less experience, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer began working for the Bangor Police Department in January 2020 and has been an officer for 15 years, records show.

According to the officer, Simpson made a racially based comment about him, saying, “I don’t want to be racist, but (the officer) and his child support...”

The 34-year-old officer also said Simpson told him and others the story about a Berrien County officer asking Simpson to urinate on his body, authorities said.

Simpson told the officer and others that he heard a public safety officer from a different city was “well-hung” and talked about the size of the man’s private parts, the criminal complaint says.

In the summer of 2020, Simpson asked the 34-year-old officer about his neighbor, saying, “I wish we could somehow break them up and you could get him away from her. ... I would love to get me a piece of that. ... I hear that he treats her like s*** -- really bad -- I’d love to get that,” according to the complaint.

That summer, the 34-year-old officer was present when Simpson told a story about “hooking up” with young college guys at the University of Notre Dame, authorities said. He said one time he was having sex with one of the men and looked out the window to see the “Touchdown Jesus” mural and couldn’t continue having sex after that, the criminal complaint alleges.

During the same summer, Simpson told the 34-year-old officer about another city employee loving to use a sex toy, in intricate detail, the officer said.

On March 4, 2021, Simpson told the 34-year-old officer that someone had taken a picture of the officer sleeping at his other job. Simpson told him he wasn’t in trouble and that he “had his back,” but then he went around and told other employees that the officer was sleeping on the job as a police officer, according to authorities.

The 34-year-old officer filed a sexual harassment and hostile work environment complaint against Simpson.

Third officer’s experiences

The 50-year-old officer started working for the Bangor Police Department in May 2019. Simpson would bring up the officer’s former police chief several times in an inappropriate and sexual manner, including talking about what the former chief would do with his wife sexually, the criminal complaint says.

Simpson asked the officer to pick him up at his apartment several times and would ask if his body camera was on, officials said. Simpson once said, “I just got done doing the McNasty,” the complaint reads.

Simpson once asked the officer to pick him up from a gas station, where he was talking to a man, the officer said. Simpson told him that he had “hooked up” with the man before, but at the time the man was making a complaint, court records show.

Simpson has shared his sexual preferences with the 50-year-old officer on several occasions, including that he doesn’t like to be pursued by men, the complaint says. He told the officer that he is the “hunter,” that he likes men of mixed race and that it would be exciting to convert a straight man, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer said Simpson would regularly touch his body without permission, such as back massages and putting his arm around him.

Simpson also talked about the 50-year-old officer’s weight, such as calling him “fatso” behind his back, according to authorities.

The officer said he spoke to a sergeant, as well as Simpson, about how unhappy he was with recent instances at the department. The day after he spoke to the sergeant, the 50-year-old officer went to work and was interviewed by a city attorney, court records show.

The city attorney said he was going after people who “caused damages to the city,” officials said. The attorney told the officer that people who filed complaints against Simpson were “conspiring against the city,” the criminal complaint reads.

At that time, the 50-year-old officer started drafting a sexual harassment complaint against Simpson, but hadn’t yet turned it in, he said. The officer told the city attorney that he found the interview bizarre and he didn’t have anything he wanted to share.

When the officer left the station to begin his shift, he was called back to the station, he said. The city attorney accused him of being insubordinate for not answering questions and suspended him, demanding his gun and badge, according to the criminal complaint.

Violations

The criminal complaint lists eight specific violations. Here are the violations made against Simpson, Williams and the city:

  1. Violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act -- hostile work environment.
  2. Violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act -- disparate treatment.
  3. Violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act -- retaliation.
  4. Violation of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
  5. Violation of 42 U.S.C. 1981 -- Subjecting the 34-year-old officer to a racially discriminatory work environment.

Simpson and Williams are also accused of violating 14th Amendment Equal Protection and committing a First Amendment Retaliation violation of constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment.

The city of Bangor is accused of violating 42 U.S.C. 1983 -- Monell Liability.

The three officers are demanding a jury trial in the case.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.