(CN) – The 5th Circuit has rejected the civil rights claim of a white prosecutor who says he was fired after a black Dallas County district attorney was appointed.
Rick Jackson, who allegedly received “high marks” as chief of a crime division that handled drug-related crimes, said district attorney Craig Watkins cut him loose “on account of his race.”
A federal judge, however, found that Watkins had “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons” for firing Jackson, based on personal differences between the two men.
The federal appeals court in New Orleans agreed, ruling that Jackson had scant evidence “to rebut each of Watkins’s nondiscriminatory reasons” for letting him go.
Jackson had pointed to his stellar record as county prosecutor and his standing in the community as evidence that he was a victim of discrimination.
But the three-judge panel said that “without additional evidence, Jackson cannot rebut Watkins’s contention that he terminated Jackson not because of race, but because they had a history of negative personal interactions.”
“Because we find that Jackson has failed to rebut one of Watkins’s four proffered nondiscriminatory reasons for firing him, we need not address Watkins’s remaining reasons for terminating Jackson, nor do we reach the argument that Watkins is entitled to qualified immunity for those claims filed against him in his personal capacity,” the court concluded.