Fired Galesburg police chief alleges discrimination

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The former chief of the Galesburg Police Department is suing the city after he was fired from his position in December. 

The eight-page lawsuit filed June 1 in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court alleges weight and age discrimination, saying Jeff Heppler wouldn't have lost his job if he was younger and thinner.

The suit claims members of the city council called Heppler, 65, and other police personnel "old and fat" on multiple occasions. The suit also says Heppler was retaliated against for opposing a proposed policy "pertinent to the physical status, in particular weight, of the police department personnel." 

Heppler was removed from office Dec. 4 in a 4-3 vote by the council. His lawsuit alleges the city violated the Open Meetings Act by discussing firing him ahead of the meeting. A resolution for his termination was prepared ahead of time, and the suit alleges it was circulated to council members ahead of the meeting.



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