A South Bend Police officer is suing the department after he says he was discriminated against in February 2014 because he is black, the second such lawsuit to be filed in 2016.
Lt. Marcus Wright, a black man, said in the lawsuit that he applied for a lateral transfer from the afternoon shift to the day shift when day-shift Lt. Sherry Taylor, a black woman, retired in February 2014, WNDU reported. Wright has worked for the SBPD for 21 years and has been a lieutenant with the detective bureau on the afternoon shift for seven years.
The department has a policy to grant lateral transfers when an officer applies for one before promoting a lower-ranked officer, but instead Wright said he went through a “random and arbitrary interview process” with other candidates. He said he believes he was discriminated against because of his skin color.
In the end, three non-minority officers were promoted to be day-shift lieutenants, even though only one job listing was posted, the lawsuit stated. One of the officers was assigned to lead a newly-created Gang Violence Intervention Unit.
- RELATED: South Bend cop sues department, city over alleged racial discrimination, April 14, 2016
That same hiring incident was the focus of a lawsuit filed by Sgt. Nathan Cannon.
Cannon said he applied for the lieutenant position in 2014 and was passed over for it because of his race. He said that the department had never announced it was creating a unit aimed at handling gang violence, and that he had much more experience than the officer who was appointed to that position.
Both men said they were denied opportunities after complaining about the incident.