Eight minority Ramsey County corrections officers have filed racial discrimination charges with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights late last week. The officers are alleging that all officers of color were ordered to a separate floor when ex-police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing George Floyd, was placed into that jail, according to the Star Tribune.
Eight minority Ramsey County corrections officers have filed discrimination charges with the state’s Department of Human Rights after they were barred from guarding or having any contact with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last month. https://t.co/ILJJ6keycm
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) June 21, 2020
The complaint is based on allegations that a supervisor told one of the officers that the black corrections officers would be a potential “liability” around Chauvin because of their race.
“I think they deserve to have employment decisions made based on performance and behavior,” Bonnie Smith, the attorney who is representing the eight officers said. “Their main goal is to make sure this never happens again.”
According to WLNS, Jail Superintendent Steve Lydon allegedly told his superiors that he was informed prior to Chauvin arriving and he made a call “to protect and support” minority employees by shielding them from the suspected killer.
“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 said in a statement he had given during an internal investigation and provided by the sheriff’s office to the Star Tribune. He has since been demoted.
This will be the second time the Department of Human Rights will launch a racism probe into a law enforcement agency in recent weeks. The state previously launched a sweeping inquiry into the Minneapolis Police Department after Floyd was killed by Chauvin.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter back on May 29 and is being held at the Ramsey County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Currently, two of the fired officers involved in the George Floyd killing, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng, are free after posting bail, while Chauvin and Tou Thao remain in jail pending further legal action.
All four ex-cops are expected to make their next court appearance on June 29.