Racial Discrimination Charges Filed
Eight jailors at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility have filed racial discrimination charges. The incident happened when Officer Derek Michael Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, was brought in to be booked into the Ramsey County Correctional Facility. According to the Star Tribune, (we highly recommend you read their article for full details), “As Chauvin arrived, all officers of color were ordered to a separate floor, and a supervisor told one of them that, because of their race, they would be a potential “liability” around Chauvin.” The decision to order officers of color to a completely different floor was made by Jail Superintendent Steve Lydon. Also in the Star Tribune, “A black acting sergeant who typically oversees the transport of high-profile inmates started a routine pat-down on Chauvin. Lydon instructed the sergeant to stop and replaced him with white officers.”
Steve Lydon claims that he made the decision to “to protect and support” his officers and was trying to shield them but then goes on to say, “Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made a decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings.” So first he’s protecting his officers, then he throws in a comment to indicate he didn’t have time to think it through, and lastly he implies that his black officers will act emotionally, not professionally.
Black Jailors Not Trusted
Superintendent Lydon made it obvious that he does not trust black people, even his own officers. But that insult was made worse by Sheriff Bob Fletcher’s refusal to do anything substantive. After officers met with Sheriff Fletcher and read a letter of complaint they had composed, he “promised to reassign Lydon from the jail.” Steve Lydon was removed from the superintendent position. The media attempted, many times, to find out where he had been moved to with the Sheriff refusing to supply the information. Finally, the Sheriff’s Office admitted he is now under Undersheriff Bill Finney who runs the Detention Division. In other words, Lydon is running the jail as second in charge, not the main person. This is a slap in the face to the officers Lydon discriminated against and shows that this law enforcement agency has deeply embedded racism.
Black = Unprofessional in Ramsey County
The eight black officers who were directly impacted, and no doubt every other black officers who works for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, feel that they are automatically assumed to be unprofessional because of their race. As one officer put it,
“I understood that the decision to segregate us had been made because we could not be trusted to carry out our work responsibilities professionally around the high-profile inmate — solely because of the color of our skin,” wrote one acting sergeant, who is black. “I am not aware of a similar situation where white officers were segregated from an inmate.”
When the media started hearing about what happened and tried to get information about the ordered segregation, the Sheriff’s Office responded with there is “no truth to the report.” This only added to the hurt and anger. According to an officer who asked not to be named to avoid retaliation, “They were calling us all liars.”
Adding Insult to Injury, Chauvin Gets Preferential Treatment
While black officers were being discriminated against, were segregated, were treated as being unable to maintain their professionalism due to their race, according to the Star Tribune, Chauvin received the following treatment.
“On May 30, multiple officers reported seeing surveillance footage of a white lieutenant who was granted special access to Chauvin’s cell, where she sat on his bunk and allowed him to use her cellphone — a significant policy violation. The Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on that allegation.”
We can see why there are so many problems in Minnesota. Racism is rampant in their law enforcement agencies.
Chauvin is no longer in the Ramsey County Correctional Facility. He has been moved to the Oak Park Heights maximum security prison.