Black Man Reported Workplace Racism, Company Owner Had Him Arrested: Report

A black man, Michael Fesser, was awarded an $600,000 after his former boss Eric Benson, owner of A&B Towing, reportedly asked a police chief friend to have Fesser arrested in Portland, Oregon.

Fesser told Benson about racial harassment by co-workers in February 2017.

Benson allegedly told then-West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus that he was worried Fesser might sue him (Benson) for racial discrimination, so Timeus had two sergeants falsely claim Fesser was stealing from the company, reports KOIN.

According to a federal lawsuit filed by Fesser in 2018, the officers arrested and detained him without probable cause.

The City of West Linn agreed in February 2020 to settle the lawsuit for $6000,00, but, of course, said the decision “is not an admission of liability.”

Fesser’s lawyer Paul Buchanan told The Oregonian the case reminded him of old-boy-style racism from the Deep South:

This case vividly illustrates a ready willingness on the part of the West Linn police to abuse the enormous power they have been given, and a casual, jocular, old-boy-style racism of the kind that we Oregonians tend to want to associate with the Deep South rather than our own institutions

(Sources: KOIN, The Oregonian)

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