CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former Montgomery police officer fired after his partner assaulted a man and falsely charged the man's wife with driving under the influence is suing the town for wrongful termination.
Shawn Hutchinson says in his lawsuit that the town didn't follow procedural rules for disciplinary actions, and that he was entitled to a hearing on the issues before being fired. Hutchinson says in the lawsuit that he requested a hearing, but that town officials didn't respond to that request.
The lawsuit was filed in Kanawha Circuit Court this week by Charleston lawyer Bill Forbes.
Hutchinson was the partner of Matthew Leavitt the night the pair stopped Twan and Lauren Reynolds outside the 7-Eleven store in Montgomery.
Leavitt hit Twan Reynolds over the head with a blackjack, kicked him in the back and sprayed his eyes with pepper spray at close range. He also used a racial epithet and licked Lauren Reynolds on the neck during an interrogation. The couple's 4-year-old daughter witnessed much of the assault.
Leavitt is in federal prison after pleading guilty to two civil rights misdemeanors in the case. The Reynolds family settled a lawsuit with the city for $500,000.
According to a deposition in the case, federal officials decided not to prosecute Hutchinson as long as he stayed out of trouble for one year.
Hutchinson also claims city officials failed to provide any reason for the termination and that his termination caused him substantial financial harm.
In September 2008, Montgomery Mayor Jim Higgins told the Gazette-Mail he fired Hutchinson for insubordination. The mayor said Hutchinson was a probationary officer, so he was terminated immediately after the Reynolds incident.
Shortly after being fired in Montgomery, Hutchinson was hired as an officer in Glasgow.