Former Solano sheriff’s deputy sues department

By July 27, 2011

FAIRFIELD — A former Solano County sheriff’s deputy has filed a federal civil rights violation lawsuit in Sacramento against the Sheriff’s Office and the county.

Michael Oster filed the lawsuit, which seeks $1 million in damages, earlier this week.

Oster claims he was the victim of ongoing harassment and retaliation that began in 2002 just months after he became a deputy sheriff when the former head of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association threatened to fire him and later forced him to resign from the sheriff’s canine unit. Oster left the department in 2010.

Pointing to department policy on pending lawsuits, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Gary Faulkner declined to comment on Oster’s accusations.

Oster further claims in the lawsuit that:

  • He was the victim of disability discrimination and that the Sheriff’s Office failed to make reasonable accommodations for him after he was injured both on and off the job.
  • Supervising officers ignored policies and procedures and blatantly favored their friends when it came to doling out preferred jobs and imposing discipline.
  • He was repeatedly passed over for promotions that went to other less-qualified and experienced deputies.
  • He was the victim of “part of an unofficial but quite real custom, pattern and practice within the (Sheriff’s Office) management hierarchy wherein certain supervising officers are freely allowed to harass, retaliate against, demote and even terminate those unfavored department members like (him) who make internal and public complaints about the (department’s) nefarious inner workings, and of whom these supervising officers wish to be rid.”
  • He was falsely accused of malingering in 2004 while recovered from a knee injury, that he was the victim of a “bogus” internal affairs investigation about possible worker’s compensation fraud and that he was forced to work at the Vallejo courthouse.

Judge John A Mendez has not scheduled any hearing dates for the lawsuit.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 425-4646, ext. 254, or [email protected]

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 1 comment

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  • From the insideAugust 08, 2011 - 3:23 pm

    Good luck Mike, bringing down the regime will be hard. And for you outsiders, this article captures the essence of what goes on behind the closed doors of the Sheriff's Office. And I love the word Nefarious!!! One word that captures all of the SO's inner workings....

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