Furman to attend anger management classes
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Police Sgt. Matthew Furman, 34, entered a no-contest plea for neglect of duty for a Feb. 1 incident with a drunken man in exchange for dropped misdemeanor assault charges.
Furman also agreed to attend anger management classes, and likely will be on probation for one year.
Furman’s lawyer, Ed Zelenak, said Furman did the right thing by taking a plea.
“He did the right thing to improve relations between management and employees in the Melvindale Police Department,” Zelenak said. “This calls for more body cams for every officer, including Sergeant Furman.”
Furman has been on administrative leave since Feb. 1, when the incident occurred. Zelenak did not know when Furman might return to active duty. Police Chief John Allen declined to comment on police personnel matters.
Furman was known for generating revenue for the city of Melvindale by working stationary patrol along Greenfield and Schaefer, between I-94 and I-75, and running car license plates, then initiating traffic stops when plates were invalid, as occurs when car insurance is not paid. Vehicles are then towed, leaving drivers and passengers without transportation.
Critics of the practice have said it disproportionately impacts poor people and minorities. Others have said it protects the city of Melvindale from uninsured drivers, and releasing a driver without insurance could put the city at risk if the uninsured driver subsequently were involved in an injury accident.
The city of Melvindale is currently involved in a lawsuit with former Police Chief Chad Hayse, who attempted to dissuade Furman from his revenue generating patrols, a move which Hayse contends was a factor in his firing.
Media reports have drawn attention to other times when Furman allegedly used excessive force, for which charges were ultimately dropped. The incidents serve to highlight the need for police body cams, which not only record actions of officers and those with whom they interact, but influence behavior simultaneously.
A Melvindale Public Safety meeting at 7:30 p.m. May 14 at City Hall, 3100 Oakwood Blvd., may provide further answers into Furman’s future role with the police department. Furman, an Allen Park resident, is in his second year of law school.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)