WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Police Sgt. Keith Wildhaber filed a discrimination lawsuit against the St. Louis County Police Department back in 2017 for passing him over for promotions because he is gay.
- Wildhaber said he was told to “tone down” his “gayness” if he wanted to be promoted to lieutenant.
- Wildhaber won the case on Friday and was awarded $19 million by the jury.
Police Sgt. Keith Wildhaber was awarded $19 million on Friday in a discrimination lawsuit he filed against the St. Louis County Police Department back in 2017.
The police sergeant said he was told to “tone down” his “gayness” if he wanted to be promoted to lieutenant, CBS affiliate KMOV-TV reports.
Wildhaber detailed in his lawsuit that he discussed a promotion with a member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners in 2014.
Wildhaber claimed that John Saracino, who was on the board at the time, said the command staff had a problem with his sexuality. According to the lawsuit, Saracino told him, “If you ever want to see a white shirt [i.e. get a promotion], you should tone down your gayness.”
The discrimination case proceeded to trial last week. Several officers, including Chief John Belmar, took the stand. Wildhaber was awarded $19 million by the jury on Friday.
According to the KMOV-TV report, the case prompted calls for changes in the department’s leadership. Lisa Clancy, a local council member, remarked, “I’m pretty appalled what came to light last week about our St. Louis County Police Department.”
County Executive Sam Page called for new members to be appointed to the police board. Page wrote in a statement, “[The] time for leadership changes has come and change must start at the top. An announcement on those appointments is forthcoming.”
KMOV-TV reported that the terms of the current board members are expiring.
Source: CBS News