A White police officer in Michigan is accusing city government of making racially insensitive remarks after he revealed he was part-Black.
So, here’s how this story goes.
Hastings, Mich. police officer Cleon Brown says he took a test on Ancestry.com and found out that he was 18% Black. Upon this revelation, he told several of his co-workers. He says they responded by making racially insensitive jokes about his newfound background.
He says the police chief called him “Kunte” as in Kunta Kente from Alex Haley’s ROOTS. Then, he says, his fellow police officers started greeting him with “Black Lives Matter” chants. The final straw, to him, came when at a Christmas party, he was given a stocking with a Black Santa Clause and “18%” written on the beard.
MLive reports “Brown decided to file a federal lawsuit alleging state and federal civil-rights violations and violation of the state’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. He claims intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Brown is specifically suing the city of Hastings, police Chief Jeff Pratt, City Manager Jeff Mansfield, Deputy Chief Dale Boulter and Sgt. Kris Miller.
The flipside to this is that the city says this is actually Brown’s fault. They are claiming that Brown invited and even took part in the jokes when he first revealed that he was part-Black. The city adds that everytime the jokes got old, Brown would start the banter back up. They are also pointing out that Ancestry.com doesn’t even tell people that they are “part” anything, but that they share genes with different communities from certain geographical regions.
Brown is going through with his lawsuit regardless. He says that the “discrimination” has affected his health, and that he may not be medically able to continue working.