An Oregan man was awarded $600,000 after his employer had him arrested following a complaint about racial discrimination. According to CBS News, West Linn Police Department was ordered to pay the sum to 48-year-old Michael Fesser because officers willfully participated in what they knew to be a wrongful arrest.
According to reports, Fesser was the victim of retaliation from his employer, A&B Towing. In 2017 Fesser complained to his boss about racial discrimination he was facing on the job. That included being called racial slurs and being taunted with a Confederate flag. Instead of proactively taking measures to stop the behavior, Fesser’s boss called in a personal favor to the West Linn Police Department and they began building a case against the father of two teenage sons.
The police department unlawfully recorded audio of Fesser at work and ultimately arrested him on felony charges, seizing his personal assets. The suit filed against the West Linn PD shows that officers exchanged racist texts with Fesser’s former boss about him, and never found any evidence of alleged wrongdoing while they surveilled him.
Though West Linn agreed to settle the suit, they refuse to admit wrongdoing. “As we move forward, the West Linn Police Department strives to learn from both our past mistakes and our successes,” West Linn Police said in a statement.
In addition to the $600,000 Fesser received from the department, he was also paid $415,000 from his former boss and company, according to The Oregonian.