A former Ferndale police officer who was fired three years ago after he shot and killed a suspect in a high speed chase claims in a lawsuit filed earlier this month that he was terminated because he is Jewish.
Lowell Phillips, 47, filed the suit in Oakland County Circuit Court on Jan. 7, exactly three years after he was fired by the police department, the Royal Oak Daily Tribune reports. Phillips, who was fired about six months after the shooting, is seeking lost wages, damages, reinstatement of his job and other benefits.
Phillips’ attorney, S. Jay Ahmad, said Phillips had no choice but to shoot after the suspect, who had been stopped, “reversed his car and sped towards (Phillips).”
In the lawsuit, Ahma claimed Phillips “behaved exactly as he was trained and used reasonable force in his actions” that day, “and all investigations by (the Ferndale Police Department) exonerated (Phillips) from any wrongdoing or use of excessive force. Nevertheless, with no basis, (the Ferndale Police Department) terminated (Phillips’) employment.”
The lawsuit claims that Phillips’ colleagues – including command and supervisory personnel – repeatedly referred to him as an “AJ,” or “Angry Jew,” during his employment and that he was told that “the Jews killed Jesus” and he should not get Jewish holidays off because it was not a “real religion.”
Among other allegations in the lawsuit, Phillips claims that when he made a mistake, he was told by his colleagues “I thought Jews were supposed to be smart” and that they made jokes that Jews being unable to stay out of “gas chambers.”
Phillips claims that when he protested the perceived harassment, it “simply prolonged the episodes.”
Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said comment on the lawsuit was premature, but officials aren’t “overly concerned.”>>> Read the full story on the Royal Oak Daily Tribune.