Detroit police told groundskeeper John Chevilott that he did the right thing by turning in a loaded handgun he found while mowing lawns earlier this month. But his employers at the Wayne County Department of Public Services felt differently and fired him for violating department policies, myFOX Detroit reports.
Chevilott told the station that he and his crew were mowing lawns in the neighborhood of Brightmoor on May 3 when they discovered a loaded snub-nosed revolver hidden in some weeds. He called police to come pick up the gun, but when they didn't show, he took it home and drove it to his local police department.
Officers discovered that the weapon had been stolen in 2005 from a town about 25 miles away and commended Chevilott for handing it over to police. But supervisors felt that he had violated a Department of Public Services policy forbidding employees from possessing weapons on work property and fired him, in addition to suspending his foreman for 30 days, according to a county spokeswoman who spoke to myFOXDetroit.
The labor union Local 101 has filed a grievance on behalf of Chevilott, who had worked for the county for 23 years and was two years away from being eligible for retirement. Supporters have also started a Facebook page and a Change.org petition in an effort to help Chevilott get his job back.
Chevilott's firing comes amidst a deepening probe into corruption in the Wayne County government, the Detroit Free Press reports. That probe began after it was revealed that Turkia Mullin, a former Wayne County employee, received a $200,000 severance payout when she accepted a new job as CEO of the county airport. She later returned the money and was fired from her position, according to the Detroit News.
Mullin's case led to a federal investigation into the Wayne County government that has resulted in numerous allegations against Wayne County executive Robert Ficano, two of his top aides, and other members of his administration, CBS Detroit reports.
"I think in nearly 24 years in the FBI, I don't know if I've ever seen anything quite blossom like this, or this much information come to a head so quickly," FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena told Channel 7 Action News.