Ex-Hughesville police chief files federal suit
Former Hughesville Police Chief Richard W. Shearer is seeking $500,000 in damages from his previous employer for “embarrassment, humiliation (and) mental anguish.”
Shearer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. Middle District Court here challenging the borough’s justification for dismissing him on Feb. 8. He alleges Mayor Walter Reed and council violated his right of “due process” under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Reed deferred comment when contacted, saying it was the first he had heard about the lawsuit.
The civil complaint also accuses borough officials of being the source of unproved allegations about evidence allegedly disposed of by the police department under Shearer and claims the ex-chief was given no reason for his firing and no chance to defend himself.
The complaint further alleges Shearer should have been allowed to go back into the collective bargaining unit and remain on the police force with the rank of lieutenant.
In addition to the emotional aspects of his firing, the complaint cites loss of income and damage to his reputation, which is alleged to be so great as to make him “unemployable as a police chief.”
The borough, Shearer and two other police officers – one of whom has since resigned – are listed as defendants in another federal lawsuit filed before his dismissal by owners of a borough tavern alleging the establishment was unfairly targeted by police.