Hastings Police Sgt. Cleon Brown launches lawsuit against Michigan city and police department after being subjected to taunts after recent dna revelation.
Sgt. Cleon Brown a Hastings, Michigan police officer has launched a lawsuit against his police chief and the city after a recent dna test led to him discovering he was part black and soon after enduring the racist taunts of colleagues.
Matters first came to the fore when Brown took a genetic test through Ancestry.com in December after lingering questions regarding his heritage only to his discover to his shock that 18 percent of his DNA could be traced to regions in Africa, denoting he was part African American.
Brown, a 19 year police veteran was also surprised by how his fellow officers in the Hastings Police Department reacted to the news according to a report via MLive.com.
In his civil rights violation suit, Sgt Cleon Brown claimed Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt called him ‘Kunte,’ after the character in Alex Haley’s novel ‘Roots: The Saga of an American Family,’ while other officers whispered ‘Black lives matter’ when they walked past.
Even the mayor, who has since retired, ridiculed the police officer according to Brown’s attorney, Karie Boylan, who has filed a lawsuit on Brown’s behalf.
‘There was an instance where my client was talking to the mayor, and the mayor ― upon learning that my client was 18 percent African-American ― proceeded to tell him a racist joke‘ using a racial slur, she told CBS Detroit.
Brown said the Christmas tree in the police department lobby was decorated with Santa figurines named after each officer on the force. Brown’s Santa was black with “18 percent” written on the beard,according to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.
Brown has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Hastings, the town’s police chief, its deputy chief, a sergeant and the city manager.
Reiterated Boylan, ‘These are law enforcement officers,’
‘These are people who are supposed to understand cultural sensitivities.’
Boylan said Brown went on to be ostracized and subjected to a hostile working environment. He is suing for $500,000.
Told the attorney, ‘I don’t see that any officer that has been retaliating against him is going to come to Cleon’s aid’.
As part of the suit’s demands, Boylan has demanded that Hastings provide better racial sensitivity training for officers.
In its defense, the City of Hastings said Brown is the one who kept bringing up his ancestry and the one making inappropriate jokes about it, according to WOOD-TV.
While acknowledging the “Black Santa” incident in a statement the City of Hastings said that the officer responsible apologized to Brown.
The statement said Brown told Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt that he ‘was not upset and that he was proud of his African heritage.’ The city also claimed the chief told the other officers that no other jokes about Brown’s heritage would be tolerated.