Ex-Pa. Trooper Claims He Was Fired over Ebonics

Joe Mandak, Yahoo! Finance, December 6, 2012

A black man contends he was fired at the end of his 18-month probationary period as a state trooper for false claims that he didn’t properly write reports, and sometimes used Ebonics in doing so, according to a federal lawsuit.

The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of William Peake, 29, of Sewickley, who graduated from the police academy in May 2009 and soon after was stationed at the Uniontown barracks, which his attorney contends employs nearly all white troopers.

Peake was required to sign a termination letter contending he was let go for a “lack of solid job knowledge and basic police skills” and other “officer/public safety concerns” not spelled out in that letter in November 2010. {snip}

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The lawsuit contends Peake was one of four black officers out of about 75 in his police academy class and that the state police have a “policy and practice of not hiring a sufficient number of African-Americans into trooper positions.”

“Plaintiff was judged by different and more harsh standards than other probationary troopers, because of his race,” the lawsuit contends. {snip}

Finn said 6.6 percent of Pennsylvania’s roughly 4,150 state troopers are non-white, including 3.9 percent who are black. U.S. Census Bureau data shows blacks account for just over 11 percent of Pennsylvania’s population.

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Peake’s lawsuit seeks reinstatement, back pay and unspecified monetary damages. Mostly, Peake wants a chance to prove himself, Logan said.

“The last bit of time in his employment, he had been restricted to desk work,” he said. “How is that giving him an opportunity to perform his job?”

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