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Race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed against Douglas Police Department

A race discrimination lawsuit has been filed against the City of Douglas Police Department.

Richard Smith, who is African-American, claims that he was subjected to a hostile work environment, race discrimination, and retaliation.

Smith, who has been an employee of the Douglas Police Department since 1997, alleges that his boss, Lieutenant Bart McCullough, and another white police officer created a noose during a training session in October 2010.

Smith allegedly complained to McCullough numerous times about being subjected to “disparate treatment” and “retaliatory actions” because he is black.

On September 6, 2011, Deputy Chief of Field Operations Brandon Prutte allegedly interviewed Smith about the noose incident in the presence of Assistant Chief Clifford Thomas. According to the complaint, during the interview Smith “was threatened with discharge if he told anyone about the noose incident.”

In December 2011, Smith filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Smith alleges that Chief Gary Casteloes told him “that he would regret going to the EEOC.”

Shortly after submitting the EEOC charge, Smith was disciplined by McCullough for allegedly making a statement that “Detectives need to do their jobs.” Smith then filed a retaliation charge with the EEOC on December 15, 2011.

Smith claims that he was subsequently “disciplined differently than his Caucasian coworker, Officer Kyle Carver for the same offense. Officer Carver was only suspended for 10 days for behavior unbecoming of a police officer whereas [Smith] was suspended for approximately 90 days.”

Race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed against Douglas Police Department
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