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City of Boise claims former Office of Police Accountability director's lawsuit stemmed from his own 'negligence'

In a filing by the City of Boise in response to Jesus Jara's lawsuit, the city says employment decisions made about Jara were made for non-discriminatory reasons.

BOISE, Idaho — The City of Boise says the former Office of Police Accountability director's claims in his lawsuit stemmed from his "own negligence, fault, or legal responsibility."

Jesus Jara was the Office of Police Accountability director before he was fired on Dec. 9 for allegedly watching police body camera footage "without cause."

Jara later filed a lawsuit, claiming that the reason he was fired by the city was due to retaliation he said he experienced after recommending to the mayor that the former Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee be placed on leave, pending multiple complaints against him. It alleges the city interfered with the investigation into the chief. Another lawsuit from a former officer alleges the city neglected to protect their employees from Lee by refusing to place him on leave.

Lee was never placed on leave until he was requested to resign by Boise Mayor Lauren McLean in September 2022 after the complaints against Lee were made public.

The City of Boise mostly denied every allegation made by Jara in his lawsuit.

They said in their response, filed Jan. 20, that the damages Jara expresses in his complaint was caused by his own negligence, that his claims are "speculative" and that their decisions about Jara were solely non-discriminatory.

The city also says in their response that Jara's claims are barred under "the doctrine of unclean hands."

According to Cornell Law School, the doctrine of unclean hands essentially means someone who is seeking relief or claims has participated in misconduct -- but only "directly related to the matter in which he seeks relief triggers the defense."

The city's response also says that Jara has no retaliation claims under the Idaho Protection of Public Employees Act (IPPEA).

"(The city) did not take any action against (Jara) because he opposed any allegedly unlawful act or practice under the IPPEA, or because (Jara) made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing," the response said.

The city said the complaint Jara filed "fails" to state any claim in which Jara is entitled to any relief on the matter. Jara is requesting monetary relief for lost wages and benefits pending his firing, as well as a jury trial.

The city, "denies all allegations of responsibility, fault, and liability" to Jara. The city is requesting a jury trial as well as a dismissal of the case.

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