Police Officers Sue Mayor, Placed on Leave

Northeast Alabama
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FYFFE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Two police officers are on paid administrative leave, less than 48 hours after filing a lawsuit against the mayor.

Fyffe police officers Brian Warren and Anthony Majusiak named Katy Woodall and the Town of Fyffe as defendants in the lawsuit.

Attorney Jeff McCurdy submitted paperwork to DeKalb County Circuit Court officials Wednesday.

In June, the officers filed a notice of claim about a pending lawsuit, which read:

     “Please consider this letter to be notice of claim by Anthony Majusiak and Brian Warren
     against the town of Fyffe, Katy Woodall in her individual capacity and Katy Woodall in
     her capacity as mayor for tortuous acts, whereas Anthony Majusiak and Brian Warren
     claim compensatory and punitive damages in the amount to be determined by trial.”

McCurdy declined to discuss specifics, but said Woodall portrayed in a bad light the trustworthiness of officers Warren and Majusiak.

"The lawsuit is for reputations, they want to clear their names on some of the accusations that have been made," McCurdy said.

The lawsuit states:

     "For approximately one year, [Woodall] has been on a campaign to discredit,
     undermine, and ultimately cause the dismissal of the [officers].  [Woodall's] smear
     tactics include but are not limited to libel, slander, false light, defamation, and
     emotional distress."

In December, the town suspended Chief Jake Fowler for two weeks without pay.

McCurdy said the lawsuit is connected, but not directly related.

"The reason that the chief was suspended was over these allegations, and the fact that [Woodall] did not believe he handled that in the correct way."

The reason the mayor gave at the time of the suspension included Fowler's failure to enforce the city's timecard policy, and for officers failing to file uniform crime reports.

McCurdy said Woodall's accusations go against the character of Warren and Majusiak.

"If something tarnishes their reputation then the community might not feel safe, and we don't want that out of these officers," he said.

They're there to help and protect the community that they serve."

Woodall is up for reelection, but McCurdy said the lawsuit is not politically motivated and was in the works for a while.

"My office has gathered information, we have done research, and this is not something that we pulled out of the hat here at election time," he said

McCurdy told WHNT News 19 Friday morning the officers did not intend to let the lawsuit affect their performance, and planned to continue to show up to work and conduct police business as usual.

Mayor Woodall said she had no comment on the lawsuit when reached by phone Friday afternoon.

WHNT News 19 later learned the officers received letters at 1 p.m. informing them of the town's intent to terminate their employment.

They are on administrative leave with pay.

Warren and Majusiak have 10 days to file a written notice for a hearing with the Fyffe Town Council.

McCurdy said they will request an open hearing.

The lawsuit is still on file and McCurdy said the motivations are not financial.

"We're willing to let 12 people on a jury decide what's fair and what's just," he said.

"Their reputations are at stake and we want to restore that."

You can read the lawsuit filing in its entirety here.

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