A county in Minnesota has rubber stamped a settlement close to $1.5 million for a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by eight minority correctional officers who said they were excluded from guarding Derek Chauvin while he was in custody for the killing of George Floyd.
The officers, who identify as Black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander American and multiracial, stated in their lawsuit that their superintendent Steve Lydon at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul reassigned transferred officers of color to any floor after Chauvin was arrested in May 2020.
They went onto say that that Lydon’s actions “segregated” them and stopped them doing their job “because of the color of their skin.” Lydon “denied he was racist and defended his decision,” the lawsuit stated. “Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made a decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings.”
Lydon reportedly made the following statement during an internal investigation into the matter, NBC News reports.
A news release confirmed that Ramsey County Board of Commissioners agreed on the settlement. “The courage of these eight officers cannot be overstated,” Lucas Kaster, one of the attorneys for the correctional officers, said in a statement. “During an unprecedented time in our community, the officers took the bold action to step forward and speak out against the segregation and racism they experienced.”
Trista Matas Castillo, who is chair of the Ramsey County Board, made a statement after the settlement was agreed. “The actions taken by Sheriff’s Office leadership that day were more than just wrong—they were racist, heinous, highly disrespectful and completely out of line with Ramsey County’s vision and values. No one ever should have questioned your ability to perform your job based on the color of your skin.”
“Our goal in bringing attention to the segregation order was to ensure Ramsey County was held accountable for its discriminatory actions and practices. We hope the County and Detention Center will continue working toward overall culture changes that create a safe and welcoming work environment for all,” the statement went onto say.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS
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