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.
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.
Clackama count District Attorney Investigation
The Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office will conduct a review of the wrongful arrest case of Portland resident Michael Fesser by West Linn police to determine if officers involved committed crimes in the county and whether action should be taken to avoid putting future cases in jeopardy, District Attorney John Foote said Wednesday.
Foote said his office was aware of Fesser’s federal civil suit alleging a wrongful arrest and racial discrimination by the West Linn Police Department, but decided to act when the office saw The Oregonian/OregonLive story this week about the $600,000 settlement payout and details.
Fesser, 48, sued West Linn police saying they targeted him for arrest in Portland as a favor to a fishing buddy of former West Linn Chief Terry Timeus. The fishing buddy was Eric Benson, Fesser’s employer at the time.
- 1. Burke, Minyvonne. “A black Oregon man told his boss about discrimination at work. Then he was arrested.” 12 February 2020. nbcnews.com. NBC News. ‹https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-oregon-man-told-his-boss-about-discrimination-work-then-n1135011?cid=public-rss_20200211›.
- 2. Fesser, Michael. Oregon man falsely arrested awarded $600,000 after lawsuit Mike Benner. 12 February 2020. ‹https://www.nbcnews.com/video/oregon-man-falsely-arrested-awarded-600-000-after-lawsuit-78614597787›.
- 3. The Associated Press. “DA to investigate West Linn cops handling of wrongful arrest.” 12 February 2020. apnews.com ‹https://apnews.com/40a2490a1a379799b25013b5b0a38538›.