Alabama Deputy Says Sheriff Discriminated Against Him in Reassignment

By John Brackin

(CN) – A black sheriff’s deputy in Alabama claims in court that he was wrongly placed on restricted duty after being cleared of administrative charges solely because of his race.

As recounted in a complaint filed in Birmingham, Alabama on Nov. 15, Eric Brown was a long-time deputy with the Jefferson County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office, when, in April 2014, he was accused of purchasing a car with “drug” money.

Two months later, as an internal investigation proceeded, he was placed on administrative leave without pay, the complaint says.

Brown notes that no criminal or administrative charges were ever filed against him.

A year later, in June 2015, he was allowed to return to work but was “involuntarily reassigned to the Corrections Division with restrictions.”

Brown says in his years on the force no white deputy had ever been involuntarily reassigned to the corrections division with the same restrictions to which he was subjected.

And he says this was the case even in instances when deputies were accused of far more egregious acts or crimes than he was.

Specifically, he pointed to the case of two younger white deputies who were accused of rape.

According to Brown, neither was placed on administrative leave after the rape accusations were made against them, and neither was forced to work with restricted duties.

Brown says while on restricted duty he was not allowed to wear his uniform outside the corrections facility, and when not working corrections, he was not allowed to do any of the other duties a deputy would perform.

Brown claims he was subjected to this treatment on the basis of his race and his age, and that the treatment caused him “emotional distress and pain and suffering.”

He also says it cost him wages, the opportunity to work overtime, to chance to be promoted, and his use of a take-home patrol car and other off-duty privileges.

Brown seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief on claims of racial and age discrimination.

He is represented by Scott Morro of Gardendale, Alabama.

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