GIG HARBOR, Wash. - Perjury charges against a Gig Harbor police officer bring another round of legal issues for the city.
A convicted drug dealer, whose case was overturned, plans to sue Gig Harbor after claims the officer falsified police reports in his case.
Sergeant Matthew Dougil, an 11-year veteran with Gig Harbor Police Department, is scheduled to stand trial next month for writing up those false police reports in this drug case.
Three people were charged; one man pleaded guilty and went to prison. Prosecutors say if they had known about the holes in this case, they would have never taken it to court.
"I went to prison for less than a $100 worth of marijuana," said Billy Sehmel.
Sehmel, 26, is no saint. He spent more than year in prison after pleading guilty to selling marijuana to a Gig Harbor police informant.
But now, three years later, Sehmel is preparing to sue the City of Gig Harbor, after learning the officer that conducted the investigation is charged with perjury for lying in his case.
"I was very angry," said Sehmel. "I mean, it was very upsetting that I had a year out of my life taken away that I can't get back."
According to court documents, Gig Harbor Sergeant Matthew Dougil used an informant to buy drugs from Sehmel.
But prosecutors say, there was a problem - the informant is accused having drugs on her.
"Sgt. Dougil then put those drugs in the confidential informant's car and went forward with the search in violation of current law," said J.D. Smith, attorney.
Prosecutors say they would have never filed this case had this known this information.
"It's important that you rely on what they say is the truth because they take the stand and people are convicted everyday based on their testimony," said Smith.
The attorney for Gig Harbor told KING 5, "We are withholding comment until we see the civil complaint."
Gig Harbor has already settled a suit for $45,000 involving another man charged in this case.
"It makes me wonder how many people are in jail based on false or perjured testimony," said Smith.
Sehmel's lawyer planned to file an administrative claim Monday. He's ultimately seeking damages upwards of $2.5 million.
Sgt. Dougil is on administrative leave. His court date is set for April 21st.