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LAWSUIT: Former Ferndale Police chief feared 'black man' would become new chief

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 18:24:50-04

FERNDALE, Mich. (WXYZ) — A retired Ferndale Police lieutenant has launched scathing accusations against the former police chief in a lawsuit, accusing Timothy Collins of not promoting him because he feared it would pave the way for city council to hire an African American as chief of police.

William Wilson claims, in his lawsuit, that Collins told him that he had to protect the tradition of the department and not allow city council the possibility of hiring a black man as Chief of Police.

Both Wilson and Collins are white. And Wilson claims he filed the lawsuit because he is seeking compensation and wants to stop what he claims are the "racist motivation on hiring practices."

Wilson said that to become chief, a candidate needs to be a police captain for at least six months. And he claims that Collins told him that the city would be forcing him to retire at age 60, and that wouldn't give anyone else an opportunity to be in line to succeed him, opening the door for the possibility of council to select someone black.

7 Action News could not reach Collins for comment, but he adamantly denied making any racist statement.

The City of Ferndale released the following statement to 7 Action News:

Typically the City does not comment on pending litigation, relying on the judicial system to reveal the truth. In this case, however, we can say that the accusations posed by Mr. Wilson are categorically untrue. The City of Ferndale is proud of its commitments to being an inclusive community, as demonstrated by the vitality of its citizens and employees regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Mayor, City Council, City Manager, Chief of Police, and all officials find the allegation of racial discrimination abhorrent and contrary to what actually occurs in our city.