Officer wins suit over claim he was mocked for black ancestry


the officerImage copyright
Court records

A white US police officer who discovered he has sub-Saharan African ancestry through DNA testing has won a payout after claiming racial abuse.

Sergeant Cleon Brown, a police officer in Hastings, Michigan, sued the force after alleging his colleagues racially taunted him over his DNA test results.

He claims they mocked him after he revealed that he was 18-33% “sub-Saharan African”.

Sgt Brown will now receive $65,000 (£49,000) from the city’s insurers.

The 19-year veteran of the police force initially sought at least $500,000 in his lawsuit, according to US media.

He is on paid administrative leave until 31 October, when he plans to resign.

Sgt Brown alleges that the police chief referred to him as “Kunta,” an apparent reference to a slave character in the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, while other officers whispered “Black Lives Matter”.

“And it made me so mad,” Sgt Brown told WJBK-News. “I remember saying to the chief, ‘I cannot believe you just called me that.'”

The city had argued that he had taken part in the insensitive jokes, and had himself commented that the results revealed “why he likes chicken so much” and that “the 18% is all in my pants”.

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Court records

In one incident, Sgt Brown claims that he discovered a black Santa Claus figurine in his Christmas stocking with “18%” written on it.

“I call it straight up racism,” he told WDIV-News.

This week, the city council agreed to the settlement, saying it will allow Hastings “to focus its efforts and resources on more productive endeavours”.

“The city did not believe the lawsuit had merit,” City Manager Jeff Mansfield told local media.

“But when comparing the settlement to the cost and disruptive effect of defending the case, it was in the city’s best interest to resolve the case on the terms in the mediated settlement agreement.”


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