H-SANTA MARIA

Aug 10, 2012 8:39 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Former Santa Maria police officer sues city, former chief

For the second time this week, the city of Santa Maria has been hit with a lawsuit. This time by a former police officer, who said he was fired after, what he called, "a manufactured internal investigation" led by former chief Danny Macagni.

"This had nothing to do with merit, job performance or anything else. It has to do with Chief Macagni's then perception of loyalty," said Joshua Lynn, attorney for former Santa Maria officer, Greg Wade. Wade was with the department for six years.

Lynn said Wade was fired in February 2010 because he "refused to alter his moral compass to become one of Macagni's boys."

"You were certainly treated better. You were subject to promotion, good assignments, good working conditions. If you were not one of Macagni's boys, you were essentially against him," said Lynn.

In the 16-page lawsuit, it said, shortly after Wade was hired at the department, he was invited into Macagni's office, where he said the chief told him, "If someone runs from you, you as an officer will kick their a**, and if someone touches you, you as an officer will kick their a**, take them to the hospital, and then take them to jail."

"The evidence of the circumstance at that police department and the way that management by way of the chief was, was running that shop is overwhelming," added Lynn.

The papers also mentioned an internal investigation was done on Wade and three incidents where, the department said, he used "excessive force."

The department hired a third party to investigate it, and their report concluded the force was "reasonable".

"There is nothing in any materials used to terminate him that make any sense," said Lynn.

KSBY asked Lynn about why it took two and a half years for the first officer to file a lawsuit. He said he had to wait until Wade's administrative challenges were done.

Since the lawsuit represents only one side of the case, KSBY also reached out to the city for comment. The city attorney's office said they are not commenting on this because they have not been served with the suit. But once they receive it, they will comment.

Former Chief Macagni declined to comment.

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