Seventeen current and former Flint employees have filed a lawsuit against the Flint Police Department, alleging four counts of race discrimination, racial discrimination failure to hire, retaliation and sexual harassment.
The plaintiffs claim that they were either demoted, discriminated against during the hiring process or harassed for being white.
The suit said that the employees who always received the promotions were African-American, who in many instances, either didn’t have the proper qualifications or scored lower than one of the 17 plaintiffs on the promotion exam.
The lawsuit additionally claims that one plaintiff in the lawsuit was asked to perform a sexual act on both Deputy Chief Devon Bernritter and Sgt. Tyrone Booth. When she refused, she began to receive unfair discipline.
The lawsuit was initiated when employment lawyer Dean Yeotis began receiving calls from Flint employees in different departments of City Hall. He said he noticed a pattern from the start of this administration’s tenure.
“That was race-based employment decisions,” Yeotis said.
He said that he’s confident about the case because he has facts and the law on his side.
“When you have those two things on your side, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says,” Yeotis said. “I’ve represented more black employees than anyone else in the Genesee County history. My record speaks for itself.”
Yeotis said that lawsuit, which names top officials in Mayor Karen Weaver’s administration a few weeks before a mayoral election, isn’t politically motivated.
“I do support one candidate over the other, but I don’t think it’s relevant to the lawsuit,” he said. “As a lifelong city of Flint resident, I don’t think it would be saying much positive about me if I saw the things that I saw, and heard the things that I’ve heard and supported a candidate or administration that stood behind what’s taking place.”
Flint City spokesperson Candice Mushatt said the lawsuit has blatant falsehoods.
“The city of Flint does not condone any manner of sexual harassment or racial discrimination,” Mushatt said in a statement. “Likewise, the city of Flint will not stand idly by as unverified allegations attempt to damage the personal and professional reputations of the men and women identified in the pleadings. As a result of the reckless release of this complaint, damage is already being experienced by the families of the persons listed.”