Michael Fesser said West Linn officers unlawfully surveilled him and then falsely arrested him after he complained to his boss about racial discrimination.
A black man from Oregon sued the city of West Linn alleging that police officers unlawfully surveilled him at work and then falsely arrested him in retaliation for having raised complaints with his employer about racial discrimination.
Michael Fesser of Portland claimed in the suit, an amended version of which was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Portland, that the incident left him suffering from emotional distress and resulted in economic damages. He sued the city and several members of the West Linn Police Department for false arrest, malicious prosecution, defamation and invasion of privacy.
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West Linn police began investigating Fesser in February 2017 after Fesser raised concerns to his boss, Eric Benson, owner of A&B Towing, that he was being racially discriminated against at work.
According to separate court documents, Fesser said the discrimination included coworkers’ calling him racial slurs. After he raised his concerns, Benson contacted West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus, his friend, and persuaded to look into allegations that Fesser had stolen from the company, according to the lawsuit.
The suit said the theft allegations were false and unsubstantiated.
But with the approval of West Linn police Lt. Mike Stradley, Detectives Tony Reeves and Mike Boyd used audio and video equipment to watch Fesser while he was at work, according to the suit. The surveillance was “conducted without a warrant or probable cause” and did not result in any evidence that Fesser was stealing from his employer, the lawsuit stated.