Mayor Mike Favre retaliated by firing interim Bay St. Louis Police Chief Matt Issman when the chief refused to let the mayor run the Police Department, Issman claims in a lawsuit he filed in Hancock County Circuit Court.
Before being fired in September, Issman said he told the mayor he would not participate in Favre’s “scheme” to control Police Department employees and investigations. State law puts the police chief in charge of a department’s day-to-day operations.
“Mayor Favre had no authority to direct the actions of the police department, to direct who will conduct an investigation and/or to direct how any investigation was to be conducted,” says the lawsuit, filed against Favre and the city of Bay St. Louis by Gulfport attorney David Harris.
Issman said he made it clear he would not participate in violating state law, resulting in his termination.
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He seeks an unspecified amount for lost wages and mental anguish, plus punitive damages for being treated with “gross and reckless negligence,” the lawsuit says.
Favre fired the veteran law enforcement officer 13 days after he started work. During a 44-year career, Issman had worked for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Reached by telephone about the allegations, Favre said Wednesday afternoon: “Not true at all, but that’s all I’ve got to say.” He said he had not yet seen the lawsuit.