A Missouri cop is suing the St. Louis Police Department and the city, claiming he wasn’t promoted to Police Chief because he is white.
Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence O’Toole claims that Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards blamed the missed opportunity on a white cop who shot dead a black man in 2011 and sparked protests after he was found not guilty of first-degree murder in September 2017.
The current Police Chief John Hayden is black and Edwards – who is also African American – allegedly told O’Toole about the officer who killed Anthony Lamar Smith: ‘If Jason Stockley didn’t happen you would be the police chief.’
O’Toole claims it’s proof he wasn’t hired because he is white.
O’Toole was made interim police chief when Sam Dotson suddenly retired in April 2017. Dotson is white.
O’Toole was leading when the community came out in their droves to denounce the verdict after prosecutors claimed DNA evidence indicated Stockley planted a gun on Smith.
Following the protest attendees – including journalists and bystanders who lived locally – accused police of beating them and dousing them in pepper spray even though they were on the ground and complying.
Those people were arrested using a controversial ‘kettle’ technique and it resulted in lawsuits against the city and 343 officers and officials.
Several officers also beat Luther Hall who was there working undercover. Hall is African American.
Five cops were indicted as a result of the protest over the Stockley verdict and two have pleaded guilty to charges that include lying to the FBI.
The job application process started less than a month after the protest and Mayor Lyda Krewson – who is white – appointed a citizen advisory board to assist.
But O’Toole claims that they were hostile to him throughout the application process in October 2017.
O’Toole claims he suffered a loss of wages. He states in the lawsuit, filed May 1, that he was the only officer not to get a $6,000 pay increase from the Proposition P sales tax.
Edwards reportedly gave him an $8,000 increase when he became interim police chief and bumped up his salary another $7,000 to $115,000 when Hayden came on.
O’Toole has also been criticized for saying the police ‘owned’ the protests in September 2017 and for wrongly claiming that an off-duty cop shot in friendly fire had exchanged fire.
O’Toole filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2018. Edwards told the St. Louis Dispatch Times that he made it ‘very, very clear’ to O’Toole why he wasn’t promote.
‘I gave him several reasons why he did not get the job. And race was not one of them,’ Edwards said Tuesday. Edwards said the city wrote a ‘very telling’ response to that complaint so he was ‘a little surprised that he continued this.’
O’Toole also complained to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in 2018 and they issued a notice of his right to sue in February this year.
O’Toole asking for compensatory damages in excess of $25,000, prejudgment interest and attorney fees.
He claims that the experience resulted in non-diagnosed emotional pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Leah Simpson