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Ex-Lansing firefighter’s discrimination case against city will go to federal trial

Michael Lynn Jr.
Michael Lynn, Jr. was fired from his job as a Lansing firefighter in 2021 over allegations that he violated the city's ethics policy by posting then-police chief Daryl Green's personal work cell phone number on social media.

A former Lansing firefighter who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city is preparing to have his case heard in federal court. 

In February of 2021, the city of Lansing fired Michael Lynn Jr., alleging he endangered then-police chief Daryl Green by publishing his cell phone number on social media.

Lynn is Black and a co-leader of the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter.

At the time of Lynn’s termination, WKAR reported that the Lansing Police Department had created a Facebook post that paid tribute to a police dog killed in the line of duty in 1999.

Lynn criticized the city for failing to honor his friend, 18-year-old Aldric, McKinstry, Jr. who also died that night at the scene.

Lynn took to social media, asking the public to call then-Chief Green to hold him accountable for the post.

The city of Lansing claimed Lynn violated the city’s ethics ordinance by sharing Green’s personal work cell phone number.

Officials said his action put Green, the LPD and the entire community at risk.

Lynn has also accused the city of discriminatory behaviors, calling it a “systemically racist system.”

This week, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney dismissed part of Lynn’s lawsuit, that was first filed in 2019, saying he couldn’t prove he was retaliated against.

In siding with the City of Lansing, Maloney wrote that Lynn failed to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the city within a certain deadline and that he could not litigate those past claims.

However, Lynn says he’s pleased the judge allowed his claims that the city created a hostile work environment and violated his right to free speech to proceed.

“This was the summary judgment where this was like their last-ditch effort to get it all thrown out,” Lynn said. “Pieces of it got thrown out and the others are moving forward, which means we’re going to trial.”

Lynn’s attorney, Scott Batey, says he’s “extremely happy” with the court’s decision. No date has been set for trial.

In 2020, Lynn also filed a lawsuit against Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, former fire union president Eric Weber and former interim fire chief David Purchase.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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