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Officer sues city over mayor’s post after police shooting

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WAPATO, Wash. — A Wapato police officer is suing the city over comments its mayor posted on social media after an officer-involved fatal shooting.

The Yakima Herald reports that officer Michael Campos says he’s suffered defamation and a hostile work environment as a result of the comments by Mayor Tony Guzman.

“At a time when Mayor Guzman could have been a voice of calm and healing in a very painful time for the citizens and law enforcement officers alike, Mayor Guzman chose to be extraordinarily divisive and inflammatory in contributing to a hostile working environment for Mr. Campos,” Yakima County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Russell wrote in a letter.

Several other officers wrote letters supporting Campos’ $1.5 million claim against the city.

Campos fatally shot 38-year-old Mario Martinez-Torres when responding to a domestic disturbance call on July 31. Police reports say Campos shot Martinez-Torres as he struggled with Campos and another officer. The Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office ruled the shooting justified.

In his Facebook post, Guzman called Campos a murderer and said he “deserves to die in prison.” He also said Campos was a “disgrace” to the Wapato police department and told Campos that “if you have an ounce of dignity, never show your face in Wapato.”

Guzman declined requests for comment on Campos’ claim.

The city has until Feb. 7 to respond.