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Second Framingham cop files federal lawsuit

by: Blair Miller, Erin Smith Updated:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - A second Framingham police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the town, FOX25 has learned.

Lt. Vincent Stuart claims he was suspended in retaliation after complaining about a town employee’s lack of qualifications and alleged abuse of power, according to the 25-page federal lawsuit complaint filed Tuesday.

Vincent Stuart, a lieutenant and 16-year veteran of the Framingham Police Department, is now on paid leave.

His attorneys told FOX25’s Blair Miller they feel Stuart was targeted.

“In retaliation for speaking up, the administration turned the tables on them and conducted an active investigation against them and manufactured at least in the case of my client – something they could latch onto,” said attorney Seth Robbins.

“Lt. Stuart would like to be allowed to go back to his job,” said attorney Carol Cooke. “He'd like to go back to fighting crime for the Framingham and return to the numerous leadership jobs he had.”

This comes just weeks after FOX25 reported on a Framingham detective who also filed a federal lawsuit, claiming he was retaliated against for reporting corruption within the department to the FBI.

Framingham Police Det. Matthew Gutwill, a 12-year veteran of the department, has filed the lawsuit in Boston federal court against the Town of Framingham and Police Chief Kenneth Ferguson.

His complaint alleges he was retaliated against after he reported to the FBI that fellow cops lied under oath, took “mementos” from crime scenes and allowed informants to buy drugs for personal use.

Framingham Town Manager Robert Halpin said Gutwill returned to work Monday after being placed on administrative leave.

Gutwill’s attorneys – who also represent Stuart – say that Gutwill has been demoted to a patrolman.

Halpin said the allegations made in both of officers’ lawsuits will be disproven in court, telling FOX25, “The town's lawyers have conducted an initial review of the complaint and as a result of that, have noted numerous factual inaccuracies and erroneous assertions.”

“The chief of police made some reassignments that led to some labor disagreements,” said Halpin. “Some of that turmoil continues to spill over from that. We continue to stay focused on improving the labor environment.”

Halpin also told FOX25 the town signed a settlement agreement with Stuart in 2015 over a “disagreement.”

He wouldn’t provide more details about that settlement or the disagreement but told FOX25 the lawsuit “seems to be resurrecting what was resolved in 2015.”

RELATED: Federal lawsuit: Framingham PD retaliates after officer reported corruption