A white lesbian cop is suing the Michigan State Police for discrimination, claiming that it is “drunk on diversity” after she lost a promotion to a Black officer.
Sergeant Larissa LaMay claims the force’s new diversity initiatives led to her being passed over for the position of assistant post commander, which instead went to a Black woman.
LaMay contends that her fellow officer didn’t deserve the promotion as she had been “disciplined for failing to show up for work and falsifying records to conceal it”.
The federal lawsuit further alleges that her supervisor is openly homophobic and subjected her to anti-gay rhetoric during a meeting last year.
“The Michigan State Police (MSP) is drunk on diversity. So drunk that they are using illegal means (racial and gender preferences) to achieve it,” wrote LaMay’s attorney in an email to Detroit News.
LaMay’s case is joined by three other discrimination lawsuits filed by white MSP employees since May.
Each suit points to comments state police director Joseph Gasper reportedly made at a public meeting in October 2019, in which he said the agency – which is 90 per cent white and 91 per cent male – was “way too white and way too male”.
He revealed that he planned to set aside 25 per cent of future job openings for minorities, and 20 per cent for females.
According to LaMay, this comment coming from “the top official of a para-military organisation” constitutes “standard operating procedure, a pattern and practice of racial preferences designed to favour Blacks over whites at all levels of the agency”.
Supervisor’s anti-gay bias was ‘laid bare’ in meeting, Larissa LaMay lawsuit claims.
Her suit also claims that she was subjected to a homophobic work environment and cites a diversity presentation given by a gay officer as proof.
Keyonn Whitfield, commander of the state police post in Oak Park, allegedly made several disparaging remarks about gay officers after a gay state trooper gave a presentation about the challenges facing LGBT+ officers.
The suit claims that at a mandatory meeting on November 20, 2019, Whitfield “expounded 6-7 times on the oddity of a gay law enforcement officer”.
It also alleges that “Whitfield’s bias against gay employees was laid bare in the presence of 10 sergeants and one lieutenant, yet nobody reported the comments until five months later.”
Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner responded to the suit by telling the Detroit News: “The Michigan State Police is committed to maintaining a work environment where there is equal opportunity for all members, one in which decisions regarding employment, promotion, retention, or any other personnel practice are not motivated by bias or based on discrimination.”