Machias police dispute at center of federal whistle-blower suit

By Tom Walsh, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 25, 2012, at 12:28 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A long-simmering stew of accusations within the Machias Police Department may be coming soon to federal district court.

Former Machias police Officer Richard Strout of East Machias claims in a civil suit filed last week that he was improperly terminated in what his lawsuit depicts as a whistle-blower retaliation scenario.

Strout claims his termination is linked to informing Machias Police Chief Grady Dwelley and other city officials that a fellow reserve officer was working more hours than permitted under state law.

The suit claims Dwelley took offense and claimed he was in possession of a waiver that allowed the extra hours. Strout claimed that was not true. Dwelley called Strout a “liar,” according to the suit.

Strout claims that the bad blood that subsequently ensued resulted in his termination, which the lawsuit alleged was based on “false evidence manufactured by Dwelley,” including accusations of “stalking behavior.”

The suit requests a jury trial. It also asks that the town of Machias pay compensation and attorney’s fees and costs. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages and fees from Dwelley and Town Manager Chris Loughlin.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/25/news/down-east/machias-police-dispute-at-center-of-federal-whistle-blower-suit/ printed on December 24, 2014