River Rouge police officer sues for $2 million claiming racial, sexual harassment

Allegations in a $2 million police lawsuit filed by one of its officers are explosive claiming multiple examples of racial and sexual harassment.

"I would like to be able to do the job I love in the city that I love, without being harassed and mistreated and scrutinized," said Officer Rosa Holly.

Rosa Holly said she planned to work her Tuesday evening shift as a River Rouge police officer -  just hours after she and her attorneys announced a $2 million lawsuit against her own department for mistreatment.

"I’ve faced continuous harassment - sexually, racial. I don’t have a restroom facility or locker room facility," she said. "We are a PSO department so I do fight fires as well as do police. I don’t have a designated area for a female officer or a female firefighter."

Holly says she’s the only Black female officer on the force and has been harassed ever since enrolling in the police academy back in 2020. Prior to that, she worked as a dispatcher.

The lawsuit accuses the River Rouge Director of Public Safety and another official of making false claims about her and creating a hostile work environment.

"She’s got tons of text messages from superior officers threatening her, and on the other hand, asking her out for dates and making sexual suggestions," said Michael Fortner, one of her attorneys. "And so, what she’s gone through, no woman should have to go through in today’s day and age. "

She’s also alleging unfair disciplinary action.

"I was off for over 17 months for an accusation made by a citizen whereas another officer, a Caucasian officer, is not," she said. "He’s able to work. He’s able to work overtime. He’s afforded different things that I am, which I feel is unfair. "

FOX 2 left messages for the River Rouge Police chief and the city’s mayor for a comment on the lawsuit but has not received a response. In the meantime, Holly’s team says they would like to work the issues out.

"If the department wants to straighten it out and do the right thing, they can come forward tomorrow," Fortner said. "And we can sit down to see what we can do to straighten the situation out. But right now, it’s so egregious they should be embarrassed by the way they've treated this officer who puts her life on the line."

Holly says it was the previous female police chief who encouraged her to become a police officer. That former chief, Deborah Hayes-Price passed away five years ago. 

Rosa Holly

Rosa Holly