An Ithaca police sergeant took the stand in a federal discrimination case. The civil lawsuit brought against the City of Ithaca by officer Chris Miller claims he was treated unfairly and passed over for promotions due to his race. Tamara Lindstrom has the details from the Binghamton courtroom.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- What exactly constitutes an offense worthy of disciplinary action was the question reverberating in federal court Thursday.
Ithaca police officer Chris Miller, who is white, is suing the City of Ithaca, claiming he was denied promotions and subject to harsh scrutiny and disciplinary actions due to his race, while minority officers went unpunished for misconduct, and received promotions.
Miller's former supervisor, Sergeant Doug Wright, spent the day on the stand. He testified that Miller was a productive officer who had an exceptional rapport with the minority community.
Wright, who has also filed a separate suit against the department, said Miller suffered retaliation for filing a complaint and denied the defense's claims that miller was a "bully."
But the defense attempted to undermine Wright's testimony with a long list of alleged police misconduct incidents in which the witness didn't know the whole story.
The defense detailed a complaint that Miller harassed a citizen at her home, allegedly spitting tobacco on her property and threatening her 15-year-old daughter.
The defense also outlined cases of minority officers being disciplined for breaking department rules and painted Wright as a racist.
Testimony continues Friday. Miller is seeking $19 million in damages.