An African-American police officer who was harassed on the basis of race has won his lawsuit in Los Angeles, California. He has been awarded around $1.5 million in the case, some of which is for his legal fees. Regardless of how the money will be used or what it was tagged for, the settlement in the case brings a long legal battle to an end.
The officer in the harassment case has been on the force since 1989, so he was surprised in 2008 when the incidents began occurring. He cited things such as being asked if he was on his way to pick some watermelons after he talked to one of his superiors about getting out of work a bit early. He was once presented with a cake at a ceremony that was supposed to honor him for having been on the force for 20 years, and the cake was topped with both watermelon and fried chicken. In yet another episode, pictures were hung right on the station wall, in full view of all of his superiors, that indicated that he was related to Michael Jackson, saying that he was a missing member of Jackson’s old band, the Jackson Five.
One of the major grievances that the officer had was that it was clear that he was not being protected by his superiors, which is a large violation of the law. In some cases, his superiors were even in on the discrimination and harassment. In other cases, such as with the pictures, they looked the other way.
Laws to protect people of all races are common in the United States, especially within organizations like the police force. All people have a right to be treated fairly and equally, no matter their background.
Source: Business Management Daily, “L.A. approves $1.5 million police harassment settlement” No author given, Feb. 28, 2014