Former Piedmont officer loses appeal in pee case

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By Mindy Ragan Wood
Staff Writer

A former Piedmont police officer who sued the city for wrongful termination lost his appeal in court Wednesday.

Kenneth Qualls believed he wrote a citation properly when he issued a ticket to the mother of a boy who reportedly was urinating in front of their home. Qualls was promptly fired after the news media picked up the story and Piedmont became home of the “pee heard ‘round the world” in 2012.

Qualls argued that he obtained permission from Piedmont Police Lt. Sterling Markel before he wrote the citation on November 4, 2012 and gave it to the boy’s mother. Although Qualls never saw the boy peeing in the yard, he was responding to the home after complaints of children urinating in public view on the property.

The officer sued the city because he claimed the city violated his due process rights and was fired without just cause.

Qualls sued in Canadian County District Court after he was unable to keep his job following a city employment board hearing. Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse ruled that the employment board’s decision was free of prejudice and its decision was supported by evidence.

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling on March 20.