Ex-Ferndale detective claims boss didn't want a black chief

March 14, 2019, 3:25 PM

A former Ferndale police detective is claiming the deserved last stage of his career was sacrificed to satisfy a colleague's desire that the department's next chief not be African-American.


The Free Press' Tresa Baldas has the story:

In a he-said, he-said tale unfolding in federal court, retired police detective William Wilson claims he was denied a promotion and forced into retirement as part of a bigger strategy to prevent an African American from potentially being named police chief in Ferndale.

Wilson, who is white, claims that his former boss once told him that he feared Ferndale’s “left-wing” city council might name a black man to the position of chief, and that he needed to “protect the traditions of the department” to make sure that that didn’t happen.

“That’s just a bunch of horse s***,” said Wilson’s former boss, retired-Ferndale Police Chief Timothy Collins.

Wilson claims he applied for a promotion to captain, a necessary step to his "dream job" of chief; he'd need at least six months as captain to qualify for the top job. However, he further claims, he was passed over in favor of the younger and less-experienced Vincent Palazzolo, who did indeed become chief later. Wilson said he was passed over because of timing -- as he was getting close to mandatory retirement age at 60, there was a chance he'd be unable to become chief. So the younger Palazzolo was chosen to head off the possibility of an outside candidate, potentially an African-American one, from upending "the traditions of the department."

"Horse s***" or not, the case is now in federal court.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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