A group of corrections officers have been awarded almost $1.5 million when they were prohibited from protecting Derek Chauvin in May 2020 because they weren’t white.
ABC News reports that the eight officers claimed that they were being racially discriminated against when Steve Lydon, former Superintendent of the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center, disallowed any corrections officers of color from coming to the fifth floor where Chauvin was being held. Lydon retracted the order around an hour later.
The incident prompted a few officers to reach out to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to file discrimination charges. Then, in February 2021, eight officers made allegations of discrimination and a hostile work environment, citing the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Devin Sullivan, Stanley Hafoka, and Nathaniel Gomez-Haustein also said they faced retaliation for filing the charges, emotional distress, and loss of income.
Ramsey County Board Chairwoman Trista MatasCastillo issued an apology to the officers.
“The actions taken by Sheriff’s Office leadership that day were more than just wrong—they were racist, heinous, highly disrespectful, and completely out of line with Ramsey County’s vision and values,” MatasCastillo said in a statement. “No one ever should have questioned your ability to perform your job based on the color of your skin.”