Recently, 48-year-old Michael Fesser has been awarded 600,000 dollars following his wrongful 2017 arrest. Fesser went to his former boss to discuss racial discrimination that he felt in the workplace. He told his boss that employees at A&B Towing called him racial slurs and taunted him with a confederate flag. Following the conversation, his boss called in a personal favor to the West Linn Police Department, resulted in Fesser being arrested before he could sue the company.
Court documents state that West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus ordered two of his sergeants to build a case on Fesser. Shortly after, the officers would detain and arrest Fesser for stealing money out of the company, even though it was false. “They started out by trying to assassinate my character,” Fesser told CBS. Court documents also show back and forth text messages between Fesser’s boss and the police department, holding an alleged racist conversation, in regards to Fesser.
The West Linn police department also recorded audio of Fesser. They seized his phone, money, and any documents accusing the company of racial discrimination, all without a probable cause or search warrant.
In addition to the $600,000, Fesser will receive $415,000 from his former job. “The pattern of police misconduct and racism by West Linn Police officers, facilitated by the Portland Police, is truly shocking and disheartening,” says Fesses lawyer. “We hope that our local police will take the very strong local and national reaction we are seeing to this case as a strong message that reform is required.”
The West Linn police department agreed to settle the suit with a statement, “As we move forward, the West Linn Police Department strives to learn from both our past mistakes and our successes.”
Michael Fesser now takes the time to volunteer at a local prison, running an organization to help young ent transition out of prison. Fesser wants to ensure that other black men don’t experience what he did. “What’s really going to help is if we come together as a community and their community also and we just move through this process so it doesn’t happen again. This cannot happen. It has to stop,” said Fesser.