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Former Lansing Police officer sues city for retaliation in Federal Court

Charles Funk was the sergeant in charge of the Lansing lock up
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:47 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A former Lansing Police officer is filing a lawsuit against the city, claiming the department retaliated against him for standing up for something he believed was right.

Charles Funk was the sergeant in charge of the Lansing lock up downtown. He said he was passed over for promotion to lieutenant several times after releasing Black men who he claims were illegally arrested as far back as 2014.

“In my mind, I’m trying to prevent anything from going any farther than what it is,” said Funk.

Funk claims the department retaliated against him because he wouldn’t sign off on a report asking for resisting arrest charges against a black man picked up by white officers.

“The officers were brought in and the report was changed. I said ‘Ok, the report I got did not support those charges,’” Funk told News 10.

Funk said it happened two more times at the same time he was up for a promotion to Lieutenant.

He never got that promotion despite having the highest score on the test, which is one of the factors in determining who gets the job.

“Over and over and over. Each time the chief would say ‘you’re next, you’re next, you’re next,’” Funk said.

He filed a racial discrimination complaint against the city. He said that’s when he started getting internal complaints filed against him.

“It was literally like almost every two weeks. Everything I did was scrutinized. I was not given verbal counseling or notations. These were formal Internal Affairs complaints, which is rare,” Funk said.

Funk said he wasn’t disciplined by the department until 2016.

The final complaint happened after he was involved in an incident with a man involved in a wheelchair at the corner of Pennsylvania and Jolly. No one was hurt, but Funk said the department was going to fire him, so he quit to keep his retirement benefits.

Funk said this is taking a toll on him and his family.

“Yes, my life was turned upside down. We were even homeless for a time. I lost everything,” he said.

Funk now works for another police department part-time.

He said he’s not letting this situation stop him from standing up for what’s right.

“No, it has not stopped me. When I see something like that, I will keep doing it and I have,” said Funk.

News 10 asked Lansing Police Department about the lawsuit Thursday. A department spokesman said they don’t comment on pending lawsuits.

The lawsuit is expected to go to trial in Federal Court next year.

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