Updated 10/09/2012 06:57 PM
Signer testifies in Miller discrimination trial
The defense called a former Ithaca Police Chief to the stand. It was Lauren Signer's turn to testify in former police officer, Chris Miller's federal discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the City of Ithaca Tuesday. Our Melissa Kakareka has the latest from inside the courtroom.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- What kinds of factors influenced former Ithaca Police Chief Lauren Signer's decisions between 2004 and 2007? That was the focus of questioning as Signer testified in Chris Miller's federal discrimination trial on Tuesday.
Signer was questioned about why she didn't promote Miller to sergeant despite his high score on the civil service exam.
The former police chief says it’s true that she didn't interview or consider Miller for the position. But she says it’s because of his involvement in a 2004 incident known as the jungle, as well as three other incidents which she says showed a pattern of bad behavior.
Signer testified that race was never a factor when she was handing out promotions or discipline to anyone, and says she was never under any political pressure to promote minorities. She also said she was familiar with discrimination in police departments, having won her own lawsuit in Albany before moving to Ithaca.
The plaintiff’s attorney argued that Signer was still dealing with emotional issues about that lawsuit when she became chief and says that negatively influenced her treatment of Miller.
Miller's attorney also asked why Signer never investigated her client's 2005 Human Rights Complaint or questioned him personally about the jungle incident.
Signer said she didn't investigate the complaint because she lived through it and said she knew the allegations were untrue and she said Miller had the chance to come forward regarding his role in the destruction of the homeless camp and never did.