$2.7m award for black firefighter fed dog food November 10, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in anti-black, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, firefighter, Racism.
A black firefighter who was served dog food in his spaghetti by his colleagues has been awarded more than $2.7m (£1.4m) to settle a lawsuit alleging racial harassment and discrimination within the Los Angeles fire department.The payout, approved 11-1 by the city council, is believed to be the largest for misconduct in the history of the department, which has been dogged for years by complaints of hostility towards black and women firefighters.
Tennie Pierce, 51, alleged that three fellow firefighters mixed canned dog food into his dinner. Mr Pierce “took a large bite, at which time he noticed the other firefighters were laughing and making noises”, the lawsuit says. He took a second bite, then demanded to know what was in his food, “but no one would tell him. [Mr Pierce] then left the kitchen with his co-workers laughing at him.”
A fire department investigation suggested the incident was intended to “humble” Mr Pierce after his team had won a fire station volleyball game. A lawyer for one of the defendants initially called the incident “a good-natured prank … [not] in any way motivated by race.”
But David Wellman, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the prank was intended to “humiliate and dehumanise” Mr Pierce. “It’s … about keeping blacks out by making their lives so miserable that they don’t want to stay.”
Dennis Zine, a police officer for 38 years and the lone councillor to vote against the settlement, said he thought the $2.7m award was “outrageous for something that caused no serious injury, no permanent harm … That’s not to say it was right, not to justify what they did. But $2.7m?”
In addition to the payout, the settlement provides for Mr Pierce to remain on paid administrative leave until April 2007, when he reaches his 20-year service anniversary. Then he can retire with an annual pension amounting to half of his salary for life.
Source: The Guardian