Man sues UTD after he says he was fired for being a whistle blower

A former UTD Police Officer is suing the university, saying he was fired for blowing the whistle on another officer.

It all started with an arrest warrant against a student for family violence. The terminated cop says his case points to the bigger picture of "why" police cannot police themselves, which can create public distrust.

"I want people to know, that there are officers that want to come forward, and that is a very difficult process," Michael Hackbarth explains.

58 year old Michael Hackbarth says all he ever wanted to do in life was to be a good cop.

Hackbarth retired from the Dallas Police Department after nearly 30 years of service, In January 2012 he went to work as an officer at the UT Dallas campus where he says he could mentor, motivate and inspire young people. But he says all of that came to an end in July 2014 when he tried to right a wrong.

His lawsuit claims Hackbarth was retaliated against for speaking up about another UTD officer who filed a report, which involved a false affidavit.

When Hackbarth brought it to his supervisors, the suit claims he became the target of an investigation and was fired. He says he considers himself to be a whistle blower

As the investigation into Hackbarth's allegations continued, the lawsuit says he witnessed other UTD employees giving false and perjured testimony in an arrest warrant and reported it to outside investigators.

"In my career, I haven't had to do this, now at the very end of my career and I had to do this," Hackbarth says.

He says it was difficult to essentially rat on another officer, but he says it was the right thing to do.

"This is an important part of law enforcement! I don't take it lightly; it's a sad day for law enforcement, in fact when you have to do this. But we have to police ourselves," Hackbarth says.

"What he did was very heroic! He did what the public expects him to do. As an officer," DPD veteran Nick Novello says.

Veteran Dallas Police Officer Nick Novello is a longtime friend of Hackbarth. He's not involved in the suit, but knows what it's like to be a whistle blower.

"We either start protecting whistle blowers and start protecting them when they speak and we start demanding openness and transparency or we are going to see a loss of the trust that the public has in us," Novello says.

In 2007 Novello filed complaints against 3 fellow DPD Officers accusing them of illegal arrests and civil rights violations. Novello says it's never been more important to back cops who break the blue code when they see something wrong.

"In the face of what's happening in the Country, the Country is not asking for transparency and accountability, they're demanding it," Novello says.

Hackbarth says his termination has tarnished his reputation and he can't find anyone willing to hire him. But despite that, he says he would do it again because it's important.

We contacted UTD for a response. The university says it has not been served with the lawsuit which was filed last week, and can't comment at this time.

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