Fresno's Police chief is in hot water, accused of racially discriminating against an African American police captain. Captain Al Maroney first made a complaint in 2007. Last week, he filed a lawsuit against the city. Maroney says he tried several times to no avail to reach a settlement with the city. He says his only other choice was to get the courts involved. Chief Dyer says the accusations are not true.
A lawsuit is now lingering over the city of Fresno, and Police Chief Jerry Dyer is at the center of it all. Police Captain Al Maroney is suing over alleged racial discrimination. He says he was treated unfairly simply because of the color of his skin. It all started during a reassignment back in 2007. Maroney was transferred to the southwest policing district, a predominantly black community. Maroney didn't want to transfer, but claims Chief Dyer said he would be "great blend" in that area.
In court documents, Maroney said typically newly appointed captains are reassigned. But, Maroney was a senior captain. He said the move significantly altered his hours and responsibilities and resulted in a loss of status and esteem among his peers.
Chief Dyer is denying the accusations. He released a statement which reads in part, "This assignment was not based on race and was consistent with past practice. Other commanders have been placed in this assignment of various ethnicity, including one with the same seniority level of Captain Maroney."
Maroney is also accusing the chief of retaliating against him, following a discrimination complaint. He said during a meeting in 2009, Dyer was visibly angry and made a remark about a lawsuit filed by African American police officers. Maroney says he felt personally threatened.
Dyer responded to those allegations with this-- "Not only was Captain Maroney not retaliated or discriminated against, I was the one who promoted him to the rank of captain."
We did speak with Maroney on the phone Wednesday. He says he is sorry this issue has come to the point of litigation, but says his transfer was based on his race, and therefore illegal.
This isn't the first time the city has been hit with a lawsuit like this. Two years ago, two deputy chiefs accused Dyer of making racist and sexist comments. The city settled that lawsuit for $300,000.
Court documents show a case management conference on the latest lawsuit will be held on June 24th.