Former Chula Vista Police Officer David Mitchell will receive a $175,000 settlement from the city after he was fired for making complaints of racism from his superiors. The settlement was reached this week.
Mitchell was a lieutenant with the San Diego Police Department, a position he obtained after suing the department for racial discrimination in 2008 in a case that settled.
The California cop retired in 2014, then joined the ranks of the Chula Vista Police Department, just south of San Diego, the following year at the age of 61.
But he was fired within his first 10 weeks of training after he reported other officers using racial slurs, according to 10 News.
Mitchell claims he was in the midst of training when he heard two of his field training officers make racial slurs on two separate occasions.
On the first occasion, Mitchell heard a supervising officer refer to a city location as “nigger hill.”
On the second occasion another training officer refereed to a community group as trailer trash.
In June 2015, Mitchell filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In July 2015 he was put on administrative leave, and 30 days later, Mitchell was abruptly fired.
Chula Vista police concluded that Mitchell was fired because he didn’t pass the probationary training period. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing found no wrong doing by the department.
Mitchell filed the lawsuit in September of 2015, which you can read here, suing on the grounds of racial discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment and harassment.
Mitchell claims he suffered emotional distress, lost wages and lost employment benefits.
“The city actually rallied behind the racist and threw Mr. Mitchell under the bus and retaliated against him,” said his attorney, Dan Gilleon.
“The underlying act of racism is bad enough. You don’t use the n-word these days, especially with someone who’s a new trainee that you don’t know, and you know he’s a black man. This guy knew exactly what he was doing when he referred to that place as the ‘n-hill.”
The police attorney and the city decided to settle the lawsuit even though the officers involved never admitted any wrong doing.
In a 2008 lawsuit against the San Diego Police Department, Mitchell says he was rejected twice to be promoted to lieutenant because he was a black man. Mitchell passed the test to become a lieutenant on both occasions, but was still rejected.
That 2008 lawsuit states:
“less-qualified and lower-ranked non-African-American officers who also applied for the same promotion to Lieutenant were selected instead.”
The San Diego Police Department settled that lawsuit and promoted Mitchell to Lieutenant.