A former Roswell City police officer is now suing his former employer.
Maurice Bradford was fired in September 2010 after an incident in which three tires blew out on his city patrol car.
"I was patrolling, heard a loud bang from underneath my vehicle," he told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik. "I didn't see anything in the road. I didn't see what caused the damage."
Bradford said he reported the incident to his superiors and thought that was the end of it. Then, he says he learned former city police chief Ed Williams had opened an internal affairs investigation into what happened, accusing him of lying about the real reason behind the incident.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "They didn't question my integrity in almost five years in the department. My file was clean."
Bradford's attorney, Cliff Hardwick, told Petchenik his client was denied due process and ultimately fired.
"He was denied a hearing, denied his appeal rights to the city and that’s why we’re here today," said Hardwick.
Shortly after the termination, Bradford said several fellow officers contacted him to say the former chief was angry about articles critical of his administration posted in the online Beacon newspaper.
"The chief suspected me of being one of the people going to the local newspaper about misconduct within the department, which I was not one of the people," Bradford said.
Hardwick and Bradford believe that's the true reason for his termination.
“Having blown out a tire isn’t a terminating offense," said Hardwick.
Bradford is now suing the city and Williams for wrongful termination. He said he hopes to clear his name so that he can find gainful employment as a police officer.
A spokeswoman for the city of Roswell said the city would not comment on pending litigation.
Councilwoman Nancy Diamond, who serves as the Public Safety Liaison, also wouldn't comment to Petchenik about the lawsuit, but she did say the city does its homework before firing any employee.
"We don’t take it lightly when we have to make a move, so while I can’t talk about the specifics of this case, there is a lot of due diligence," she said. "It’s not just one person at the police department who makes this decision."
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