Ex-Florence Police Detectives, Whistleblowers Sue Town for Wrongful Termination

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson

Former Florence police detectives Jarris Varnrobinson and Walt Hunter filed a federal lawsuit today in U.S. District Court against the Town of Florence, the town's mayor, its police chief, police lieutenant and past town managers over the pair's firing in 2012.

The lawsuit alleges that Florence officials, including Mayor Tom Rankin, Police Chief Dan Hughes, Lieutenant Terry Tryon, former Town Manager Himanshu Patel and current Town Manager Charles Montoya conspired to "cover up ... gross misconduct at the FPD by terminating Hunter's and Varnrobinson's employment and smearing their reputations, in violation of Hunter's and Varnrobinson's federally protected civil rights."

The lawsuit also alleges that Varnrobinson's civil rights were violated by the town and its officials because he was "subject to "disparate treatment on the basis of race."

See also:
-Injustice for All: The Florence PD Compromised Public Safety
-How Florence Police Sabotaged Investigations of a Child's Slaying and of a Teen's Rape
-Tragic Consequences Follow Mayor Rankin's Control of Politics and Police in Florence

New Times published a special report, "Florence Exposed," that detailed the cases botched by Florence police officials, including the homicide of a 9-year-old boy and the alleged rape of a high school student in the desert during a party.

When the then-detectives exposed the alleged missteps to their superiors and town officials, they claim that town leaders engaged in a cover-up of the corruption and abuse of power.

And, then town officials retaliated against the law enforcement officers, ultimately firing them without ever notifying them they were under investigation or interviewing them to allow them to defend themselves.

The pair were officially fired after being accused of several improprieties, most of which were unfounded according to a personnel hearing officer who heard the officers' termination appeal.

The town rehired Hunter, the white cop, and, although the allegations against the two officers were virtually similar, they did not rehire Varnrobinson, an African American.

Indeed, the cast of characters that are targets of the former detectives' lawsuit have checkered pasts.

A statement by the law firm representing the former detectives notes that Mayor Tom Rankin, who was the police chief of the town until 1994, was booted out of office "after a news station broadcast allegations that he routinely referred to African-Americans as 'nigger' and 'boy.'"

Hughes left his last two law enforcement jobs after published allegations of racism, abuse of the disciplinary process, and other misconduct.

In 2002, Rennata Frazier, an African-American former law enforcement officer in Springfield, Illinois, where Hughes was Assistant Chief and Commander of Internal Affairs, filed suit against the City of Springfield based on Hughes' discriminatory conduct. The case received national press coverage, and the City settled for over $800,000, according to the law firm's statement.

Tryon received a written reprimand for returning evidence in both a home invasion case -- and was accused by the detectives of also giving away evidence in the teenage desert rape case.

Patel, a former town manager who signed off on the cops' termination, wrote in a memo to them that he was firing them after weighing the evidence against them and considering their responses to the allegations. However, during the quasi-court hearing at which Hunter and Varnrobinson appealed their firing, he admitted that he wasn't actually familiar with the case.

Got a tip? Send it to: Monica Alonzo.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Monica Alonzo on Twitter at @MAD_Blogger.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Forjustice is clearly connected to Hughes or Tryon if not being them directly. Ignorance. Tryon has lived outside the limits of Florence most if not all of his career there. At least 2 sergeants love outside city limits among many officers as well. Where we chose to live is irrelevant, as most officers prefer to live outside their area to avoid retaliation by the criminal element we deal with. I can assure you with direct first hand knowledge that Tryon is as dirty as claimed. No, I am not hunter or varnrobinson nor am I related to them in any fashion. I am clearly a person who has witnessed and been a victim of the corrupt actions of the ever so protected Terry Tryon. The claims made against the prior chief for why he was fired are insanely inaccurate. He was terminated after a successful which hunt by tom rankin and Tryon. How else do you explain a new chief taking over less than 2 days after his release? This is unheard of anywhere else. Usually a command staff member is the acting chief until a new one is found. Why chose a chief like Hughes who clearly has a history of less than legal behavior. Florence has lost it's damn mind. Good people lost jobs, including more than Walt Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson. They ran out Jack McClaren, Gary Lewis and a few others. Claim these guys were bad and I would urge you to compare their personnel files with any current member of the pd. I just with officer Lewis would come forward with everything he knows. Nails would be put in tryons coffin.


I wasn't sure if I should bother wasting my time by addressing @ForJustice, but it seems that I must since this person is mentally numb and very much out of touch with the facts surrounding this case! This post will be a bit wordy!

Okay, so here we go 'InjusticeToAll' is me.. Seiqa Miah Justice (Seek Justice). I have stated this before. If the person that is known as "ForJustice" actually followed the blogs and news related to this case on Facebook and other social media outlets, he or she would know that I am a woman and not Mr. Varnrobinson Vonzombie. My blog is Facebook.com/InjusticeToAll.

Next matter, based on all the legal documents that I have reviewed, Jarris A.H. Varnrobinson Vonzombie happens to be, according to birth records issued by the state of his birth, is his full birth name. Birth certificates do not lie, how else does one get both state and federal government employment, identification, etc. You should realize 'ForJustice' a 'name change' as you put it, actually means a person actually 'changes' their name to a totally 'different name'. His name appears to be the same! The legal paper work filed with the federal courts and even the town of Florence refers to this man by his full legal birth name. Oh yeah, what was the point of the link to the Supreme Court website? Seems pointless, and very much unrelated to the fact that Mr. Hunter and Mr. Varnrobinson were wrongfully terminated for exposing a corrupt police administration!

Now on to the other matter, residency within the Town of Florence does not limit whether a person working in law enforcement protects the citizens of the town less or more. @ForJustice, your statement and reference to where you think Hunter and Varnrobinson reside is ludicrous. Did you know, well obviously not Mr. or Ms. ForJustice, more then half of the Florence Police officers reside outside the city limits of the Town of Florence. This Includes the corrupt and unethical Lt. Terry Tryon, whom happens to reside in the unincorporated area of Pinal County. By the way, I have driven by a sheriffs sub-station located 'outside' the city limits of Florence where police officers park approximately 8 Florence Police vehicles.

So let's talk about you Mr. or Ms. 'ForJustice'. Who are you? What is your real name? You imply you are some form of law enforcement protecting the citizens of Florence. Where do you work? I am assuming for Florence and a person that refuses to see the facts that are very transparent in this case. Let's open up and look at your life and background, as well as your job performance. I am sure you yourself can't throw stones, because we all live in some form of glass house!

So maybe you should just follow the case, see what happens in Federal court, and make your statements about credibility, honesty and opinion after the results. At this point you are just talking out the side of your neck! If you are really interested in this case and learning the truth, do your homework, get all the documents, audio recordings, and related information. Conduct an unbiased Investigation!!! Then after that choose your side. I know why I support both Varnrobinson and Hunter because I do my homework and continue to follow this case closely. Do you know why you really support The Town of Florence, Terry Tryon, Daniel R. Hughes, Himanchu Patel, Tom Rankin and Charles Montoya within this case? The way you attempted to attack both Varnrobinson and Hunter with apparent ignorance, I hope your support of the defendants is not just because they keep you employed or claim to be your friend!

Okay so that's all I have to say!


injustice ToAll - stop claiming that you are a citizen of Florence.  injustice ToAll is Vonzombie and lives in unincorporated Pinal County and has never been a citizen of Florence for the 10 years he claims he has been protecting the citizens of Florence.  Walt Hunter is not and has never been a resident of Florence.  The Police Chief, Robert Ingulli ( Police Chief of Kearny, Arizona) that was fired due to lack of leadership & management, poor judgment, and perceived favoritism for 11 years was never a resident of Florence.  What where you really protecting as a so called detective and a chief, each other?  you were not front line so don't claim the sad police officer protecting the people story.  it is disrespectful too those that truly do. 


lets see if injustice to all is really true.  please visit http://apps.supremecourt.az.gov/publicaccess/ and type Jarris A.H. Varnrobinson.  no wonder he has to change his name so many time.  be sure to look up Vonzombie as his last name so you do not miss anything.  


Standby to standby. "getreal" is an imposter and the real GetReal will post later. I have been vocal on many formats in support of these detectives. Apparently Teary Cryon has taken up a stance of attempting internal rulings since his failure as man is coming out


To whom it may concern and 'GetReal',

So this story has been going on for nearly two years since unethical and corrupt administrators of the Town of Florence wrongfully terminated the employment of two Florence Police Detectives Walt Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson without 'actual cause' in an attempt to cover-up criminal activity. Mr or Mrs 'GetReal' your writing style alone depicts anger and has a personal feel, which means you are taking these articles personally! Which means you must be one of the defendants named in their federal lawsuit. Basically, what their legal birth names are, whether some one gets hair cuts and whether you personally believe they were lazy, or even feel they didn't do their jobs in the manner 'you' think they should have performed is very irrelevant, and you are missing the actual facts of the case!

Soon the Town and it's leadership will be answering to why they felt it was necessary to violate the rights of the two Detectives, whom did not have any 'real' disciplinary issues and had ten years of 'meets and or exceeds' expectations within their yearly evaluations since the start of their employment with the Town of Florence.

The question is why would the Town of Florence turn their back on two employees whom dedicated their lives to the citizens of the Town of Florence? Why would you believe a man like Daniel Hughes, whom has a very questionable history as a police administrator? Why did DPS not interview all the key witnesses that could verify Terry Tryon had committed criminal acts under state law, in fact Mr. Tryon admitted to committing the criminal acts? You do realize there is evidence that the DPS Detective did an unlawful favor for Dan Hughes and the Town of Florence by not conducting a proper investigation, in fact there is documented evidence that Detective did the same for another Police Chief whom has recently answered to criminal charges after the case was re-investigated by another DPS Detective whom did the job he was hired and assigned to do.

The interesting thing is that all the actual and real facts, which were ignored during the two Detective's reinstatement hearings in September 2013 will be brought out during the Federal trial against the Town of Florence. From what I understand these two Detectives are represented by a team of top notch Washington, D.C. and Phoenix attorneys. The Detectives have the evidence, the facts and told the truth... so they have nothing to worry about... it is always easy to retell a truthful story! However, the statements and stories told by the administrators, Dan Hughes, Terry Tryon, and Himanshu Patel representing the Town of Florence, they have to remember their lies in federal court, and further commit perjury which is definitely another committed crime!

The two Detectives, did not violate state law, town policy , nor their department policy, in fact the hearing officer McAnally, whom was paid by the town to rule against their reinstatements and make recommendations outside of his clearly stated authority, even with all his years of law experience, he executed a very poorly written, inaccurate, misleading and untruthful final Finding of Fact, his spelling alone was also atrocious. How can that be when all the facts, audio recordings and hearing minutes were right in front of his face showing that both the Detective's state and federally protected rights to proper due process were clearly violated, and the facts and documents showing Daniel Hughes made unverifiable and misleading statements, clearly committing perjury, not excluding presenting fabricated fictitious documents.

Well all the official documents including their federal complaint I have read made for very very interesting reading. I have to tell you, the Town of Florence committed sinful acts consisting of lies, slander, defamation and betrayal. Florence, the untruths and deception committed by your leadership and mayor will rear its ugly head and they will be forced out of the darkness and into the light! I just hope the Florence administration and leadership make a decision to do the 'right thing' as hard as it will be for the Town to eat crow in federal court! If not, then I am sure Florence will face the scrutiny of the federal court and public opinion, and be forced to 'pay' for the mistakes of it's town leadership both current and former. Secrets and lies don't ever stay hidden long!


A concerned Florence citizen


With "getreal" showing a total lack of proficiency in the basic areas of  spelling, punctuation and ignoring all the prevaling rules of grammar, I think we can safely assume this person is a charter member of the Florence Good Ol Boys Club. That and the fact this "getreal" person seems to believe that Lt. Terry Tryon sabotaging  a rape case, a homicide, and a home invasion etc.  is nothing more than "non issues" is very disturbing even for a town such as Florence which has garnered and seems to cherish such a terrible reputation for corruption.  

Anyone who has followed Ms. Alonzo's body of work knows she is an diligent investigative reporter who is extremely proficient in bringing out the facts in a situation.  In today's litigious society we can be assured she would not be  writing anything for anyone which could not be substantiated. Also, a simple search of Lynne Bernabei and her associated would clarify many of the misgivings you may be having "getreal." Ms. Burnabei is rated as one of the top 20 litigators in the United States. She nor any of the attorneys who work in her firm would waste their time on clients who could not back up 100% of their claims.  

In short, you "Good Ol Boys" can harangue these two detectives at length if it bolsters your confidence even for a moment. You can set around holding hands, hugging each other and tearily assuring each other that the Constitution and Criminal Justice System doesn't apply to you or to Florence all you want to. However, rest assured boys.....you are just about to be jerked out from behind the badges you cowards love to hide behind. 


here she (monica alonza) goes again.  must be a loving friend of theses two clowns.  vonzombie (really, come on for real).  what a major clown and example of a police officer. for what I see both ( hunter and zombie) were just plain lazy cop that need to be fired for there actions or lack of.  now it times for them to bring non issues to the for front as to why they got fired.  same cramp - race, I told you so, fake discipline, boss hates me, white man hates me, employer hate me.  maybe just maybe you did wrong, employee.  like working on your tattoo business or getting a hair cut or eating or helping friends with there campaign or not solving any cases while you claim that you are protecting the citizens of Florence while living in eloy and san tan valley.  go waste other people's time and do something positive rather than blaming others. 


ᴀs Eʟᴀɪɴᴇ ᴀɴsᴡᴇʀᴇᴅ I'ᴍ sᴛᴀʀᴛʟᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀɴʏ ᴏɴᴇ ᴀʙʟᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴘʀᴏғɪᴛ $5301 ɪɴ ᴏɴᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ . ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛɪᴘs ʜᴇʀᴇ

>>>>>>>>>>>  WWW.Jℴbs75.ℂOM

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

Haha...wait, wait, wait. "Jarris Varnrobinson Vonzombie?" Hahahaha.

Kurt Kreiger
Kurt Kreiger

just another day in Pinal Co., from what I've heard.....


@InjusticeToAll  zombie - get a life.  stop hiding behind your stories and color.  color has never been an issue for you and now because of your deficiencies time and time again as a cop; you what to hide behind your color.  get real man!  this is a true example of a so called black man using his race as a means for personal gain.  those that have been truly harmed by their race would consider you a dishonorable human being.  look at your record; a cop here and there; just when it pleases you.  a black man here and there; just when it benefits you.  stop preaching the bullshit and be accountable for your actions or lack of. 


wow Hunter; you and zombie could not find a top AZ litigator to brag about.  Had to bring in the so called big guns from DC. Your AZ guy would be very disappointed in you.  FYI - Bernabei is 2nd tier;  good luck with Jackson Lewis.   

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault