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Police officer files racial discrimination suit

As Indiana employees know, virtually all workplaces have policies in place to prevent discrimination. However, such efforts are not always sufficient enough to deter acts of discrimination from taking place. In the realm of racial discrimination, most Americans might agree that our nation has come a long way toward treating employees equally, regardless of their racial or ethnic background. However, one recent case suggests that racial discrimination is still alive and well in our society, even within the very institutions that we rely upon to promote justice and uphold the law.

In recent news, a black police officer has filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging that he was the victim of intentional race discrimination within the department in which he served. The officer, who has received multiple professional awards, states that he has been passed over for promotion on numerous occasions, and he watched as white police officers were given leadership roles within his department.

In addition, five of the white officers who now outrank the black policeman were investigated for sexual misconduct. The investigation resulted in a recommendation that all five men be fired from the force. Instead, the lawsuit claims that they were promoted.

The city in which the officer is employed is 46 percent black; however, the police department employs only five black police officers among a total of 32. The suit also alleges that racial discrimination is deeply rooted within the department, and that nothing is done to stop offensive behavior. According to reports, a white officer proudly displays a Confederate flag on his vehicle. Also, racial slurs are a regular occurrence.

In this lawsuit, the plaintiff asks that undetermined damages be awarded to him and that the court assign a civil rights monitor to work within the police department. The plaintiff is also asking for protection against any potential acts of retaliation.

Ironically, this is not the only racial discrimination lawsuit that the city faces. Last September, a separate suit was filed on behalf of two black officers and two Hispanic officers in the same department. The results of these lawsuits may affect the employment environment for police forces across the nation.

Source: Officer.com, "Ranking Coatesville Pennsylvania Officer Files Racial Discrimination Suit," Anthony R. Wood, July 3, 2012

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