A former Norton police officer is suing the city of Norton for wrongful termination - claiming discrimination and retaliation because he became a Muslim.
Former Norton officer Nicholas Matheny filed the suit in U.S. District Court against the city, police chief Thad Hete, a sergeant and city administrator Richard Ryland.
Attorney Subodh Chandra represents Matheny; he says a wedding invitation revealed Matheny's conversion and that's when life changed for the formerly well-regarded officer...
"There was an incident in which another officer kept talking about terrorists, when they saw his wedding invitation and saw that Officer Matheny was marrying a Muslim woman," Chandra tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Now, Officer Matheny spoke up about that, and politely but firmly said he was opposed to that kind of discrimination...and at that point, he was retaliated against.
Chandra says Matheny was "treated like hell", subject to "manufactured, back dated" discipline, asked to resign and then was fired...claiming Chief Hete and others made negative comments about Matheny's religious faith.
AkronNewsNow.com Note: The below passage contains comments that may be disturbing or offend readers.
The lawsuit claims the chief and another officer made ethnically disturbing comments. From the lawsuit itself:
Since Plaintiff was fired, Chief Hete has stated that Plaintiff would be filing his “towelhead terrorist lawsuit” any day now. “Towelhead” is derogatory term for individuals of Arab and other descent. The term is used as a slur against Muslims generally, presumably because many Arabs are Muslim.
Since Plaintiff was fired, one of the detectives at the Norton Police Department put a towel or similar item on his head and walked out of the detective-bureau office yelling loudly that he was Plaintiff.
Norton law director Peter Kostoff tells AkronNewsNow that the city hasn't yet received a copy of the lawsuit, and won't comment until they've had time to read it.