Brookhaven’s deputy police chief has resigned after a fellow officer accused him of sexually harassing her and grabbing her at last month’s inaugural Police Ball.
Juan Grullon, who has been with the police department since the department was founded in 2013 and has been the second in command since 2016, voluntarily resigned Nov. 8, according to documents obtained through an open records request. His resignation was effective immediately. Grullon could not be reached for comment.
A lieutenant alleged in an official complaint that Grullon called her his “work wife” when introducing him to his wife at the Police Ball and then later grabbed her and pulled her toward him.
None of the allegations were proven and an investigation into the complaint was closed without a finding when Grullon agreed to resign. No criminal charges have been filed. Grullon did not comment on the allegations, according to the documents obtained in the open records request, but he did say the lieutenant “was out to get him.”
City Manager Christian Sigman said in an interview the city takes these kinds of allegations “very seriously” and said he was “very disturbed” by what was reported. A national search for a new deputy police chief will be made, he said.
The Police Department receives sexual harassment training every year, Sigman said.
“We don’t think this is a systemic issue, this is just a one-person issue,” Sigman said. He noted the Police Ball was not a city-sponsored event.
“This unfit behavior happened at their event … and we apologize,” Sigman said.
Sigman said the officer who filed the complaint has returned to work.
The lieutenant who was supervised by Grullon filed a formal complaint alleging sexual harassment against Grullon with city officials on Oct. 29. The complaint alleged that Grullon engaged in inappropriate conduct at the Brookhaven Police Foundation’s Police Ball on Oct. 13 at the DoubleTree Hotel on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. In the complaint, the lieutenant said she was too uncomfortable to return to work and had been taking personal time since Oct. 13.
The Brookhaven Police Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money for scholarships for officers and provides emergency funding in such instances as medical emergencies. The ball included a medal ceremony to recognize officers for outstanding service, where Grullon helped distribute the awards.
The officer alleging sexual harassment against Grullon said in her formal complaint that he had made her uncomfortable over the past several years by making inappropriate comments and innuendos and using sexually suggestive body language to indicate “he is interested in having a sexual relationship with me.”
The officer said she tried to ignore his actions, but at the police ball, Grullon made several more pointed sexually suggestive remarks, including using physical force, she claimed.
In the complaint, she said Grullon introduced her to his wife at the Police Ball as his “work wife.” The lieutenant said Grullon offered to make her a drink in his hotel room and bring it back to the ball to give it to her. When she left the ball with other officers, she claimed, Grullon called her to say he had her drink.
The lieutenant said that she agreed to return and get the drink, and when she got out of the car, Grullon grabbed her by her arms and pulled him close to her and said, “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming alone?” He said he would not have brought his wife to the Police Ball if he knew she was going to be alone, the complaint says.
Grullon then said, “I have waited five years for this,” the lieutenant claimed.
The lieutenant said she left with her friends after that.
After receiving the complaint, the city hired an outside labor and employment attorney on Oct. 30 to investigate the complaint because of Grullon’s high rank. He was also put on paid administrative leave.
The investigation included interviews with the lieutenant, with other officers and with Grullon.
Grullon told officials in human resources on Oct. 31, after learning he was under investigation but not why, that he knew who was making the complaint and that “she’s been out to get him,” according to the documents.
Sigman decided Nov. 6 that keeping Grullon employed “was not in the city’s best interest” after hearing a preliminary verbal report of the investigation. He then made the decision to offer Grullon the opportunity to resign, according to the city documents.
The officer who filed the complaint was also offered counseling services.
A meeting between Sigman, Chief Gary Yandura and Grullon was held Nov. 8 when Grullon opted to resign, according to documents. Sigman declined in an interview to discuss what was said in the meeting.
Grullon’s resignation closed any further investigation into the allegations, city documents state.
In lieu of accepting a notice of resignation from Grullon, the city agreed to pay $24,939.12 through Jan. 31, 2019, for it to be effective immediately. He will also be paid for unused vacation time totaling $19,660.18, according to city documents.
His previous police experience includes serving on the Dunwoody Police Department from 2010-2011.