MELVINDALE, Mich. (FOX 2) - A former Melvindale police sergeant is suing the department for what he says is a wrongful termination.
Matthew Furman was fired three months ago after he sent a man to the hospital during an arrest. However, he says that's not the real reason for the termination.
"The reason for his termination stated, which we believe is completely false and made up, was that he was rough with a person that he was trying to arrest," said Jonathan Marko, Furman's attorney.
Furman made headlines after he responded to a call about a drunk person. Prosecutors said he threw a bowl across the man's kitchen then knocked him down a flight of stairs. Furman pleaded "no contest" to "willful neglect of duty" in connection with the incident. As part of the plea deal, he was put on probation as the assault and battery charge was dismissed.
He was also required to attend an anger management class. However, in a civil rights lawsuit filed against the police department, Furman said he was fired after speaking up about bad business going on in the city.
"This came on the heels of threats from his supervisor and police chief that he was going to terminated and get rid of for giving information to the FBI and testifying honestly in a civil rights investigation," said Marko.
That investigation was tied to apparent mishandlings of towing cars. Fuman said he was to tow cars based on the race or sex of the car's owner.
"For example, a white female's vehicles were not being towed according to the lawsuit, but an African American male or African American female's were being towed," said Marko.
Marko said Furman also testified about corruption in the city over mishandlings of public funds.
"That they were skimming profits, basically embezzling pubic funds that they were creating sham towing auctions so their friends and themselves could buy vehicles at below prices," he said.
FOX 2 has reached out to Melvindale's Police Chief for comment and did not hear back.