White Cop Who Finds He Has African Ancestry Sues City, Chief Over Racism

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Published on May 10,2017
by InTheBlack
HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Hastings police sergeant has filed a lawsuit against his chief, two other officers and the Hastings city manager for what he claims are civil rights violations. Sgt. Cleon Brown, who remains on the force, claims he’s been harassed since he revealed he’s 18 percent black. It all began when an ancestry research site answered a lingering question Brown had about his lineage. “Cleon, when he found out he was 18 percent African-American, was very proud of it,” said Brown’s Detroit-area attorney, Karie Boylan. But the lawsuit contends not everyone at the Hastings Police Department shared in Brown’s pride, and it started in the office one day last fall. Boylan claims Chief Jeff Pratt spotted Brown. “He saw Cleon standing there and said, ‘Hey Kunta,’ as in Kunta Kinte,” Boylan said. “Cleon’s response, incredulously, was, ‘I can’t believe you just called me that.’” Additional details in the lawsuit filed by Brown – a 19-year veteran of the force – in early April indicate things went downhill for him from there. Claims of fist pumps and whispers of Black Lives Matter from fellow officers as they passed Brown in the hallway are on the list of accusations. The most public evidence appeared on a Christmas tree in the lobby of the police department, where decorations included Santa figurines with the names of each officer. Brown’s Santa was black with 18 percent written on the beard.
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