LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A federal judge dismissed a reverse discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a former Louisville Metro Police major who was demoted after using the n-word during a training session.
Aubrey Gregory retired in early August after he was demoted to lieutenant in June. He filed the lawsuit Aug. 26, claiming he was discriminated against because he is white.
The lawsuit claimed Gregory was treated differently than two Black men who used the same racial epithet during a recruit class on “isms,” such as racism, sexism, implicit bias and cultural diversity in May 2021.
But on Dec. 29, U.S. District Court Judge Claria Boom dismissed the suit against LMPD, Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Erika Shields after ruling Gregory failed to provide evidence of discrimination.
In fact, Boom ruled, the lawsuit failed to include whether the two Black men worked for the same supervisor or were even employed with LMPD.
“If Gregory was aware of such details, he simply chose not to include them in his Complaint,” Boom wrote.
She ruled the lawsuit was deficient in several ways, including failing to show evidence “to support the suspicion that the Defendants discriminate against the majority.”
Gregory “utterly fails to allege any facts that even hint” at LMPD discriminating against “the majority,” Boom wrote. “Gregory fails to allege any facts plausibly supporting the existence of a conspiracy between the Defendants to deprive him of his rights.”
Attorney Thomas Clay, who represents Gregory, said “we’re disappointed in the result and are considering our options.”
Gregory, who became the director of LMPD’s Training Academy in March 2021, walked in on a discussion between the two Black men “regarding the use of a racial epithet” during the class last May.
“One of the individuals was from Africa, and the other was a retired firefighter,” the lawsuit said. “The individual who had immigrated from Africa stated that, when he immigrated to the United States, he had been warned not to use the word because it was offensive.”
The man said the word is not considered offensive where he comes from because it means Black.
The retired firefighter involved in the conversation said the word has multiple meanings in the U.S., sometimes meaning family or kinship but sometimes is offensive, according to the lawsuit.
“This individual stated to the class that they had better be prepared because they were going to hear this word in certain communities in Metro,” according to the suit.
Gregory, according to Boom’s ruling, addressed the recruits, saying “Yes, you are going to hear (the racial epithet) out there. Sometimes it does mean family or like a kinship of shared struggle, and sometimes it is the most derogatory, disgusting word you will hear; but you are going to hear it.”
Clay claimed he repeated the word as part of the discussion, only to make a point that officers will hear it on the job and it can have different meanings.
The next day, Gregory was contacted by Chief Shields about his use of the word during the training class, according to the suit. The suit says Gregory acknowledged that he had used the term and explained what had happened during the class. Shields then told Gregory “not to report to work until she decided what was going to be done.”
The lawsuit claimed Gregory “talked to various members of the LMPD Command Staff,” about the incident, including LMPD’s Deputy Chief Gwinn-Villarreal who “advised” Gregory to retire “although no one believed the Plaintiff (Gregory) was trying to be derogatory.”
Three days after Gregory met alone with Shields, he received the letter of demotion to lieutenant, according to the lawsuit.
Gregory was shot during protests in 2020.
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