The former chief of the Galesburg Police Department is filing a lawsuit against the city, alleging discrimination.

Jeff Heppler filed the lawsuit this month, following his termination in December of 2017 by the Galesburg City Council. The official reason given for his firing was his inability to meet commitments to the city, but Heppler says councilors repeatedly called the 65-year-old and his police officers “old and fat”, and he is alleging he was discriminated against for his age and weight.

MLive reports that the suit also claims that the Council violated the Open Meetings Act, because they discussed his termination outside of official meetings.

The lawsuit seeks $25,000 in damages, and the return of his job. That would be difficult, as earlier this year Galesburg voted to dissolve their police department, and instead contract with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office for protection.

Heppler served with the Galesburg PD from 1991 until 2017; he became chief in 2015.  During that time with Galesburg, he also served as Augusta’s police chief, Augusta’s village manager, and a Kalamazoo County Commissioner.

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