Michael Fesser of Portland, Oregon, was wrongly arrested after standing up to racism, and now he’s getting $600,000 for it.
Messer, 48, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against A&B Towing back in 2017, claiming the employees called him racial slurs, and “one asked him how he liked a Confederate flag that was fastened to a pickup parked in the tow company’s lot.” The owner of A&B Towing and Fesser’s boss, Eric Benson, asked former West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus, who is also his friend, to illegally spy on Fesser using a surveillance cam. Benson claimed Fesser was stealing from the company, according to BET. Fesser had been working for the company since 2004.
The West Linn police spied on Fesser while he was at work on Feb. 25, 2017, using audio recording app “Swann View” and live feed that was connected to the company’s video surveillance cameras. A West Linn police officer and five Portland police officers arrested Fesser at his home around 5 p.m. that same day. Fesser was booked on an aggravated theft allegation. But just five hours later, Police released him and dropped the charges against him.
When Fesser went back to collect his belongings, Police informed him that he’d been fired from his job despite there being no evidence against him that showed he was stealing. At that point, Fesser felt he was let go because of the lawsuit he’d filed against the company. NBC News reports that Fesser filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland against the city and a number of employees at the Department for “false arrest, malicious prosecution, defamation and invasion of privacy.” The document stated that surveillance was “conducted without a warrant or probable cause.”
In an interview with NBC News, Fesser’s attorney, Paul Buchanan, said he was overjoyed with the result of the case. “He is doing fine. This was not about money for him. This was about that they should not be allowed to do this.”