ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WJBK) - Just 24 hours ago, viewers saw an Allen Park police officer claim she had been abused by a member of her own department. That story gave a city resident the courage to speak out about how he was also mistreated.
The man ended up winning two lawsuits against the city.
Matt Tracer claims he was roughed up by Allen Park police officers and, when he tried to talk about it at city council meetings, he was kicked out and arrested. One of the officers involved has since been promoted, and that resident is also more than $100,000 richer after taking the city to court twice.
"There is a culture of corruption here in Allen Park," Tracer says.
Tracer says an Allen Park police officer's explosive allegations against a higher-ranking cop is just one example among many. Around the same time Officer Tracie Brown says her sergeant assaulted her inside a police station in November, the city paid out $58,000 to settle a lawsuit with Tracer.
The lifelong resident had been kicked out of a city council meeting for calling a local cop a crook and was put in handcuffs for trying to hand out a transcript he says backs up that claim.
"The dispatcher tells this other officer, 'Wayno is going to beat this guy up. I just have a feeling hand through to the door and around his neck.'"
FOX 2: "And who's Wayno?"
"That would be Wayne Albright," he says.
Tracer's encounter with Wayne Albright and three other Allen Park officers happened in 2009. He invited them into his house as they responded to a loud music complaint. When he asked them to leave after saying they'd give him ticket, he says they refused.
"And that's when they jumped me in my living room, threw me down, jumped on top of me and hauled me off to jail," he says.
Tracer sued Allen Park and the city paid him $75,000. A few years later he went to a city council meeting and dogged Officer Wayne Albright.
"I flat out said he was a criminal," Tracer says.
Mayor William Matakas had Tracer kicked out. Twice. And when Tracer showed up with the dispatch transcript at the following meeting two weeks later, he was taken into custody.
"I was literally arrested as I was walking into the city council meeting," Tracer says.
FOX 2: "What about free speech?"
"That is strictly forbidden, by our leadership," Tracer says.
And it cost them. Tracer sued Allen Park again and the city settled again - this time for $58,000.
FOX 2: "Fifty-eight thousand dollars is a lot of money to try to shut someone up."
"It is a lot of money to try to shut someone up," says attorney Ray Guzall.
Guzall is Tracer's lawyer and represented another man with an eerily similar case.
"Mr. Beaton was talking about something of public concern," Guzall says. "And the mayor did not care for what Mr. Beaton was talking about, and ruled him out of order and had the chief of police remove Mr. Beaton from the meeting."
"I'm not the only one this happens to, I'm just one of many," Tracer says.
Allen Park's mayor says both of Tracer's cases were "very unusual" and the city's attorney and insurance company urged the mayor and council to settle the lawsuits.
Allen Park is in state oversight. It came out of emergency management in 2014 and one of the transition advisory board's big concerns is litigation - and if the city is doing enough to avoid getting tangled in lawsuits and paying out thousands of dollars.
When Matt Tracer first sued the city, there were 19 other lawsuits against Allen Park.