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Vermont city settles ex-cop’s discrimination suit for $975K

December 22, 2015

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — The city of Rutland has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a black former police officer who said he was subjected to racial slurs and singled out as a troublemaker when he complained about it to superiors.

An attorney for former Rutland Police Cpl. Andrew Todd said the $975,000 settlement agreed to by the board of alderman Monday was the largest payment in an employment case in Vermont history.

John Paul Faignant said Tuesday that for his client, the case was never about the money. He wanted to change the Rutland Police Department.

“At least now the public knows about it,” Faignant said of the conditions within the department that led Todd to sue. “That’s all Andy could do. He could make the information public and hope that the people who are in a position to affect these types of issues, that they recognize it really does need to be addressed.”

Rutland Police Commissioner Larry Jenson said after the vote that he was glad the case is over.

“This happened four years ago, and much has changed in the department,” he said. “We are ready to move forward.”

Todd was the city’s only African-American officer when he served on the police force from 2003 to 2012. He claimed in his lawsuit that racism, racial profiling and cover-ups made his job unbearable, forcing him to resign.

The Rutland Herald (http://bit.ly/1InOyb3) reports that depositions of Rutland City police dispatchers, officers and other witnesses supported Todd’s claims and told of rogue investigations. Todd said a former superior and co-worker regularly used racial slurs and exposed him to repeated acts of racial profiling of African-Americans.

Todd said nothing was done when he went to his superiors and he was singled out as a troublemaker. He eventually went to Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras.

The two officers cited in Todd’s lawsuit were placed on administrative leave in 2011, and they resigned in 2012.

Todd is now a state police detective based in Rutland.

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