Four African American Palo Alto police officers have filed a racial discrimination suit against their former boss, who is also African American. Police Chief Ron Davis announced last month that he was leaving for a high-profile federal job in Washington, D.C., when the complaint against him was filed, according to the Mercury News.
The Nov. 1 complaint alleged that Davis created a hostile work environment for black employees, which states that, “His temperament toward African-American employees is abrasive, belittling and dismissive.”
The complaint was filed by Sgt. Roderick Norris, Renaldo Rhodes, and Officers Paul Norris and Paul Hines.
The complaint says African-American senior officers are routinely passed over for sergeant positions, there are no black detectives in the investigative division, and from mid-2005 to mid-2013 only one African-American police officer was hired.
According to the four policemen, Davis sent his assigned African-American secretary to another city department shortly after his arrival in 2005, the complaint states. It doesn’t specify who he hired in her place. He did hire one African-American woman as a crime analyst in 2006 and another as an administrative services manager in 2007, but both complained they were treated harshly by Davis. The analyst resigned in 2011, and the manager requested a transfer to another department.
The complaint also says that in 2011, an African-American sergeant told Davis a police department officer posted the “n-word” on his Facebook page. When that officer and his friends retaliated against the sergeant by harassing him, Davis did nothing, according to the complaint.
Davis was also biased against African-Americans in hiring, promotions, and assignments, according to the document.
Mercury News attempts to reach Hines and Paul Norris by phone and email were unsuccessful, and Roderick Norris and Rhodes are currently on leave – although no reason for the leave was given.
On the other hand, during his 8½-year tenure in East Palo Alto, Davis was credited for reducing the city’s high murder rate and implementing progressive anti-crime initiatives.
On Oct. 25, Davis announced he was leaving to serve as director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Policing. Which is interesting, since if the allegations are true against Davis then why would Eric “my people” Holder want such a person working for him. Especially someone who reduces crime in a community which is heavily African American since Eric Holder thinks the justice system is broken in the US because too many black people are in jail – he doesn’t think too many black people commit crimes, he just thinks too many are convicted of crimes, and sent to jail. He thinks relaxing drug laws will help that. Uh huh.
Maybe Holder doesn’t know Davis doesn’t like his brothas’ and sistas’ or maybe Davis is innocent and is just a really tough boss to all employees, and maybe his African American employees are overly sensitive and used to being treated with kid gloves, while his white police officers would not dare criticize him because the fallout from complaining about an African American boss as a white person is too hideous to even contemplate. So you just sit there and take it.
The complaint doesn’t detail a pattern of promoting white people, for instance – only of not promoting black people. You can have one without the other, you know. And it seems sort of cowardly to wait until the guy is departing to file a complaint against him – why not be brave and authentic and “keep it real” by doing it while he’s still around. Scared?
The other interesting aspect of this story is African Americans accusing other African Americans of discrimination or hate crimes. It reminds me of another story I covered about one Brandi Johnson, who was awarded $280,000 in total damages against her boss, who used the “N” word in referring to her. Both are black. He said it was a term of endearment (which a boss should not be using with an employee anyway) and the jury did not buy it.
It’s nice when black people are distracted by their contempt for each other, isn’t it? Actually it’s quite sad.