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Veteran sues police officers, alleging they fabricated evidence

By MERIS LUTZ | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Published: June 1, 2019

KENNESAW, Ga. (Tribune News Service) — An Army veteran has filed suit against three Kennesaw police officers accusing them of fabricating evidence to execute a retaliatory arrest against him.

The Kennesaw police department declined to comment citing pending litigation.

Matthew Solon was out with friends at Mazzy's sports bar in Kennesaw on June 26, 2017 when he says he was approached by a belligerently drunk man, Dwight Cooper, who threatened Solon and his friends with a gun.

Solon says he drew on his military training to disarm Cooper and called 911.

When officers arrived, Solon was arrested and Cooper taken to the hospital. Both were charged with a misdemeanor and a felony for possession of a firearm during commission of a crime.

The how and why of Solon's arrest is in dispute. Officer Joshua Hale wrote in his report that when officers arrived on the scene, Solon disobeyed orders and that he told police he took Cooper's weapon and struck him in the head with it "so  he would stay down."

Solon says this is a lie. He alleges in his lawsuit that the police fabricated the statement so they could arrest him after he criticized their handling of the incident. The charges against Solon were eventually dropped, while the charges against Cooper are pending.

The federal lawsuit filed this week is seeking a jury trial and damages.

"I thought I did everything right," Solon told Channel 2 Action News. "I unloaded the weapon, I eliminated the threat, called the police, gave him medical attention, everything, and when the police arrive they acted like I'm the criminal here."

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