A Black police officer has filed a discrimination cost in opposition to an Ohio police division whose chief was seen in a surveillance video placing a notice saying “Ku Klux Klan” on the officer’s jacket.
Attorneys for the officer mentioned Thursday they found after the video was launched this summer season that the chief, who quickly retired, had beforehand posted photos of the officer and different staff on the Sheffield Lake Police Division’s bulletin board that mocked their race, gender and faith.
The discrimination cost filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Fee is step one towards submitting a civil rights lawsuit, the attorneys mentioned.
“It was not a humorous joke. It was offensive and humiliating,” mentioned Sheffield Lake Officer Keith Pool, who talked publicly for the primary time about what occurred. “Even after we watch it now I am in disbelief that this occurred to me.”
Pool, who final yr grew to become the primary Black officer within the division’s historical past and nonetheless works there, mentioned all he may suppose was “are you severe” when he discovered the notice.
He mentioned the chief rapidly got here within the room after which referred to as in different officers to take a look at the notice. The chief then got here again sporting a makeshift KKK hat, Pool’s attorneys mentioned.
“What else are you able to say to the chief of police who did one thing so heinous, so terrible,” mentioned Pool, a 30-year veteran officer who beforehand labored in departments round northeastern Ohio.
Police Chief Anthony Campo resigned simply days later when Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Convey confronted him. Campo had been with the division west of Cleveland for 33 years, the final eight as chief.
Campo, who’s white, informed him it was imagined to be a prank, Convey mentioned final June. The mayor referred to as it “embarrassing and disgusting” and mentioned he apologized to Pool.
The surveillance video, which didn’t embrace sound, reveals Campo and Pool speaking briefly after the officer found the notice.
A message looking for remark concerning the discrimination cost was left with Sheffield Lake’s mayor and regulation director on Thursday. No publicly obtainable phone numbers had been discovered for Campo to hunt his remark.
Attorneys representing Pool mentioned they’ve requested the Ohio Supreme Court docket to drive town to launch all information exhibiting Campo’s offensive conduct whereas he served as chief.
Campo made racist and offensive photos utilizing images of metropolis staff and would submit them on the bulletin board or put them on the desks of worker, the attorneys mentioned.
“It appears this was his common office behaviour,” mentioned legal professional Ashlie Case Sletvold.