WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — A legal battle pits a high ranking police executive against his employer – the city of Warren.
The lawsuit claims that the police department has already removed the name and photo of their deputy police commissioner, all over an incident that is still under investigation.
In the lawsuit, which was just filed in federal court, 19-year veteran of the Warren Police Department, Matt Nichols, alleges violation of his constitutional rights. Nichols, who the police department says remains on unpaid administrative leave, was department commissioner and second in charge until a few months ago. Nichols' attorney, Jim Akhtar, tells 7 Action News in a phone interview that his client did nothing wrong, and simply lost his job because the commissioner wanted someone else.
"It’s all done with intimidation. Threats and demand for pledges of loyalty. Matt wouldn’t do that,” Akhtar said.
Recently, Macomb County's prosecutor declined to file criminal charges against Nichols after allegations of excessive force were made against him by other officers following an arrest July 18, for retail fraud. The Macomb County Sheriff's Office had previously requested charges for aggrevated assault following their own independent investigation.
"Matt thought he was going to, that he was reaching for his gun," Akhtar said. "(He) reached in the car. While he was leaning over he grabbed him by the neck and the other officers subdued him.”
Records show Nichols has faced civil lawsuits as a Warren Police Officer, dating back to 2004. Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, who is being sued along with the city, says this lawsuit is simply a bullying tactic and claims several officers formally complained about Nichols' behavior. In this new filing, Nichols aims to recover lost wages, compensation for distress, and to be reinstated.
“The Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Smith refused to issue any criminal charges," Akhtar said. "This is all about ego.”
Commissioner Dwyer says he's planning to make a formal response to the lawsuit and allegations on Thursday at 10 a.m. No comment was returned by Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.
Read full complaint below:
Nichols Complaint as Filed ... by on Scribd