A former Madison County deputy sued the Madison County Sheriff's Office for alleged racial discrimination in U.S. District Court on August 15. Robert Gibson accuses Sheriff Randy Tucker of firing him after he complained about race discrimination towards employees and suspects. Sheriff Tucker has not yet filed a response in the case.
Mr. Gibson began working as a Madison County Deputy in February 2011 and is a former Marine. His employment was terminated two years later. He applied twice for a promotion to the position of investigator but was denied. Gibson complains in his complaint that the notice of the job opening asked deputies to state their law enforcement experience and how long they had been employed at MCSO but it did not state that such information was part of the criteria. Gibson also complains that "work ethic and/or productivity" were not mentioned as requirements that "needed to be met in order to qualify for the position". (So let me get this straight. He is complaining that experience, work ethic, and how well a deputy did his job were actually considered when determining promotions?) The complaint argues that the process was subjective and no objective set of criteria were used to determine promotions.
However, several white deputies were promoted to investigator.
The complaint also alleges that Mr. Gibson
discussed with Lieutenant Mark Sandridge (over the DUI unit) Plaintiff s concerns about racially discriminatory practices that affected both the employees and the community. Plaintiff complained to Lt. Sandridge about white officers using excessive force and beating black individuals. Plaintiff also complained about the Department setting up roadblocks primarily in the minority neighborhoods. Around the time of Plaintiff's complaints, Plaintiff personally witnessed officers using excessive force and severely beating a suspect along Highway 55 while the suspect was stillGibson states that he never received any disciplinary action or reprimands prior to his termination. He also accuses the Sheriff of lying to the EEOC as well. Gibson is represented by attorneys Winston Thompson and Michael Brown. The case was assigned to Judge Henry Wingate.
in handcuffs. Plaintiff firmly opposed this mistreatment, and picked up the individual thereafter put him in a police cruiser.
38. Further, Plaintiff was informed of other instances wherein excessive force was used upon black individuals.
39. The above referenced multiple instances of excessive force used upon black individuals were reasonably believed to represent discriminatory terms and conditions of employment for officers working for the department, and which Plaintiff complained about. Even though the above conduct Plaintiff complained about also involved third-parties and the community, it represented discriminatory terms and conditions of employment for Plaintiff and potentially other officers as well. Mr. Gibson reasonably believed he and other officers were being required to work in an environment containing discriminatory terms and conditions insofar as it involved mistreatment of black individuals, and in so far as it required officers to work in circumstances involving, and around, the discriminatory mistreatment. As a result, he reasonably, and of good faith believed that the terms and conditions of employment were iscriminatory for himself and other employees required to work in the conditions.
40. Further, Plaintiff complained to Lt. Sandridge on the occasion referred to above, about what he reasonably perceived to be no black officers being in the investigations or DUI unit (reasonably referring to adult investigations unit (CID)). Plaintiff otherwise complained about black officers not being promoted to important positions of responsibility in SWAT and narcotics even though they were certified and otherwise qualified. Regardless of whether Defendant may now claim there were black officers in certain positions of responsibility, Plaintiff had a reasonable
and good faith belief that there was discriminatory mistreatment insofar as black officers were not substantially involved in certain positions and/or promoted to positions of responsibility including but potentially not limited to the above positions. He therefore complained. ....
44. After the above events in the prior paragraph, Plaintiff was brought into a meeting with
Chief Williams and Sheriff Tucker wherein Plaintiff was informed during the brief communication by
Chief Williams that it was understood Plaintiff was not happy at the Sheriff s Department, and was
therefore given the option of resignation or to be terminated. Plaintiff was given no reasonable choice and/or option under the circumstances. Plaintiff declined resignation and was issued a letter terminating him.
45. Defendant alleged to Plaintiff that he was being terminated because Defendant believed he
was unhappy working for the Department.....
The EEOC is apparently getting involved in the case as well. The EEOC stated in a January 25, 2016 letter that was sent to both parties
Charging Party alleged that he was denied a promotion as a criminal investigator and was later
discharged from his deputy's position because of his race (black) and in retaliation for voicing
opposition that black deputies are not being promoted to the investigations and DUI units.
Charging Party also alleged that a white employee promoted over him was less qualified and not
I have determined that the evidence obtained in the investigation established reasonable cause.
believe that Charging Party was discriminated against in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil
Rights Act, as amended. Creditable evidence disclosed that the Respondent's promotional policy and
practices were not uniformly applied to both races and were subjective at best. The evidence also
showed that shortly after Charging Party's protest; he was singled out for criticism and
This determination does not conclude the processing of this charge. EEOC will begin conciliation
efforts to resolve all mutters where there is reason to believe that violations have occurred.
When the Commission finds that violations have occurred, it attempts to eliminate unlawful practices
by informal methods of conciliation. Therefore, I invite the parties to join with the Commission in
reaching a just resolution of this matter. .....