Michigan police officer Bob Stump says he was fired from his job without notice and was told that treatment of a serious injury — which he sustained while in the line of duty — was a financial burden on the township.
What led up to this?
According to a report from the Police Tribune, a suicidal woman with an outstanding warrant intentionally ran her vehicle head-on into Stump's patrol vehicle in 2020, seriously injuring the officer. The driver, 33-year-old Randi Justice, was fleeing from a Laingsburg police officer just moments before slamming into Stump.
Justice later admitted to police that she was trying to kill herself while crashing into Stump's cruiser at an estimated speed of 50 to 60 miles per hour.
Authorities arrested Justice and charged her with 10 felonies, including attempted murder and reckless driving. Prosecutors dropped seven of the 10 felony charges and allowed her to plead no contest to two counts of felonious assault and one count of assaulting a police officer. She will be sentenced in March and is expected to serve approximately seven years in prison in connection with the crimes.
What are the details?
Robert "Bob" Stump, a 14-year veteran of the DeWitt Township Police Department, was reportedly relieved of his duties after learning of his eligibility for a hip replacement — made necessary after he was injured in the on-duty car crash and which would permit him to return to full duty.
The officer said that after several surgeries, he felt capable of returning to light duty despite struggling with the aftereffects of the accident and subsequent surgeries. The officer and his family said that the township refused to reinstate him for anything other than full patrol.
The outlet reported that the officer's wife, Molly Stump, said that DeWitt Township Manager Andrew Dymczyk told Officer Stump that he had been afforded enough time to heal and "was too expensive," so the township opted to replace him with a new officer who would reportedly cost the town less money. The family said that the firing came without notice and took them completely by surprise.
"We're very overwhelmed by this, very confused by all of this," Molly said of the decision. "How do you go from two years ago, you know, being hailed a hero, and now you're a burden to us financially?"
She added, "The things he's done in his career, the people he's protected and saved. This is how he's thanked for all those years of giving up holidays and birthdays and working nights?"
The report added that the township manager fired the officer without warning, with "no public thank you, ceremony, going away party, or other acknowledgment of the sacrifices he had made for the community."
The township instead reportedly said that he had become "too expensive," and that they weren't going to "keep him on and pay for his hip replacement so he could come back to work." The township also reportedly told the officer to get on his wife's insurance by Feb. 28.
“We are forever grateful for Officer Stump’s 14 years of service and dedication to serving our residents. We wish him continued success in his recovery,” Dymczyk wrote in an emailed statement on Stump's termination.
In a letter to the DeWitt Township Board of Trustees, Molly wrote, "It is devastating to look back over the past two years and consider how Officer Stump spent them in tremendous pain, jumping through hoops in an attempt to get back into the service of your constituents — and to realize that it all meant nothing. The impact of his efforts to protect and save the lives of your constituents over his fourteen years of services is immeasurable. You cannot put a price tag on what he has done and what he has sacrificed. Or maybe you can. It seems that DeWitt Charter Township has deemed his worth to be very measurable — he apparently holds no value at all."
According to the report, trustees put the matter on the agenda for an upcoming meeting to be held on Monday evening.
Molly said that she plans to seek out attorneys for legal advice if things aren't "made right" during the upcoming meeting.
What else is there to know?
The Police Tribune reported that a bevy of residents as well as members of the policing community want the township to reinstate Stump and said that his termination likely had more to do with him butting heads with Dymczyk over the years, having previously "served as an effective union representative."
"He had battled Dymczyk in the past on his fellow officers’ behalf and won on many occasions, according to sources," the outlet reported, and noted that at least one board of trustees member had no idea that Dymczyk planned to fire Stump.
The outlet continued, "Sources told The Police Tribune that for many years, Officer Stump worked tirelessly as the union representative for his department, and in doing so, had battled with the township manager on more than one occasion. They said that Dymczyk has held a grudge against Officer Stump for his union advocacy work and that what he has done to the officer since he was hurt in the line-of-duty crash is 'purely malicious.'"
You can read more on the background here.