Fort Myers agrees to settle lawsuit with police union related to FMPD investigation

Reporter: Lauren Sweeney Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

The City of Fort Myers plans to spend more tax dollars to keep an investigation into corruption at Fort Myers Police Department under wraps. We’ve been pressing the city about this misconduct mystery for years.

Monday, Fort Myers City Council approved the settlement of a lawsuit with Gulf Cost Police Benevolent Association for $8,000, which will pay the union’s legal fees.

But the lawsuit wasn’t about money. It was about trying to get to the bottom of what’s under redacted documents. They detail alleged corruption at the department. But, because they are part of a federal criminal investigation, no one will discuss what’s really in them.

In February, Matt Sellers, the police union’s president, was hopeful he’d finally get to the bottom of why FMPD put four officers on leave in 2017.

The union sued the city to release redacted documents from a 2016 audit. It detailed allegations of corruption and was released the same time the department put officers on leave.

“It’s terrible, terrible you get accused of doing something you know you haven’t done anything,” said Henry Jackson during a June interview with WINK News.

Jackson’s son, Jason, is one of those officers put on leave. He’ll have to keep waiting to find out if the redacted pages have anything to do with it.

Attorneys for the city told police union attorneys the documents have to do with a federal criminal investigation, and the Office of the United States Attorneys restricted their release.

So, instead of getting to the bottom of this mystery, the city will pay the union’s legal fees to make the lawsuit go away.

The approved settlement means, taxpayers, the union and the officers who were on leave will continue to wait to find out what the federal investigation is really about.

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