A white Michigan cop is suing the city amid accusations that he was subjected to racially insensitive remarks after revealing that he had black ancestry. Sergeant Cleon Brown of Hastings took a test on Ancestry.com which revealed that he was 18% black, but when he told some of his co-workers they responded by making racist jokes about his newly discovered background.
Brown says that his fellow officers began to greet him with ‘Black Lives Matter’ chants and that his police chief started calling him ‘Kunte,’ in reference to Kunta Kinte, the character from Alex Haley’s novel Roots. Brown says that the final straw came when he was handed a stocking at a Christmas party containing a black Santa Claus with “18%” written on the beard.
Brown has filed a federal lawsuit complaining of state and federal civil-rights violations and violation of the state’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. He also claims intentional infliction of emotional distress and particularly names the city of Hastings, police Chief Jeff Pratt, City Manager Jeff Mansfield, Deputy Chief Dale Boulter and Sgt. Kris Miller in the lawsuit.
While Brown says that the discrimination has affected his health, the city are already trying to defend themselves. The city says that the whole thing is Brown’s fault, claiming that he invited and even took part in the jokes to begin with.
This raises all sorts of uncomfortable questions about the state of law enforcement, with neither the city of Michigan, Brown, or some of his fellow officers and superiors seeming to come out of it very well…
Photo Credit: US District Court Records