A former police officer in Tennessee says he was fired for reporting his chief's suspected KKK ties to Black Lives Matter organizers.
Robert Black has filed a lawsuit alleging that Millersville Police Chief Mark Palmer and other department leaders subjected him to a culture of racist harassment and intimidation — including a female officer grabbing his genitals and, when he told her to leave him alone, asking "Why? Because I'm not a n*gger?"
Black, who is white, alleges he was targeted because he has a biracial son, with Palmer once telling another officer, "Robert is a little different. He's not one of us." Black is suing along with Joshua Barnes, a Black former officer who alleges that Palmer referred to African Americans as "n-----s," "monkeys," and "animals," and accused him of "always want[ing] to get some fried chicken and watermelon."
"Through it all, management allegedly silenced officers' complaints by instructing them to support the 'thin blue line,'" the Daily Beast reported Friday. "So Black made a fake Facebook profile, reached out to Black Lives Matter organizers, and blew the whistle on his department. Days later, he was fired. At least two other officers who allegedly clashed with management departed soon thereafter."
The police chief was previously sued in 2015 by two men who had been his first Black officers, but the case was ultimately dismissed.
"One of the former officers, Anthony Hayes, claimed Palmer took him on an unexplained visit to a former KKK leader's home, where Hayes 'was subjected to an extended conversation in the presence of KKK memorabilia,'" the Daily Beast reports. "Hayes also accused Palmer of placing a copy of a KKK magazine in Hayes' locker, with a sticky note that read 'this was left for you—don't let your subscription run out.'"
In addition to chief Palmer, Black and Barnes' lawsuit names as defendants the city of Millersville and assistant chief Dustin Carr — who is under investigation for allegedly assaulting his wife after she accused him of having an affair with a woman arrested on drug charges.
Black says after Palmer began harassing him over his biracial son, he read up on the previous lawsuit against the chief — and learned of his suspected KKK ties. That's when he set up a pseudonymous Facebook page and began seeking out Nashville-area Black Lives Matter activists, which led to his termination.
"I tried to do my job. I tried to learn, I tried to do the right thing," Black told the Daily Beast. "It seems like if you're a good guy in this type of work and you're willing to do the right thing—it's almost like if you don't toe the line, you're going to be dealt with, one way or another. And if you do toe the line, you're going to be living with the moral conflict of doing things you may not agree with."
Watch a report on the lawsuit from Nashville's Channel 5 below.
Former Millersville Police officers sue city www.youtube.com