OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A former Hobart police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Hobart, its city manager and its police chief.
Mike Atkinson alleges he was discriminated against because he is black and was fired to discourage other officers from taking part in union activity.
Atkinson, who had the rank of captain, alleges that officials wanted to ``make an example'' of him, showing other union members they could be fired if they ``exercise their collective bargaining rights.''
Atkinson was fired in October 2000. He had been with the Hobart Police Department for more than 11 years and was vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge representing the city's officers.
According to the lawsuit, Atkinson was involved in organizing the local union branch and in getting collective bargaining rights for Hobart officers.
Shortly before his dismissal, Police Chief Dale Uptergrove sent out a memo telling the city's police officers they would be punished and possibly fired if they talked about the union while on the job, according to the lawsuit.
Atkinson claims he was fired without cause, reason or a hearing, and when an arbitrator ordered the city to reinstate him, city officials refused to do so.