State News

Durham assistant police chief sues city

Posted July 31, 2014

Durham Police Department

— Durham Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes is suing the city and Police Chief Jose Lopez, alleging civil rights violations.

Forbes' lawsuit says he was passed over for promotion because of complaints he had made about discrimination in the department.

The lawsuit also alleges that Lopez and city officials disregarded Forbes' right to be free from illegal race discrimination in the workplace.

Lopez said he could not talk about the lawsuit. City Attorney Patrick Baker also said he could not talk about the lawsuit.

"We'll respond to the allegations and look forward to defending the city in this matter," Baker said.

The suit comes after a discrimination complaint Forbes filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last August. That complaint charged discrimination on the basis of race.

After the federal investigation, the Justice Department indicated earlier this year it would not pursue the case itself.

The lawsuit says Lopez promoted a white lieutenant to captain over a black female lieutenant who was at the top of the rating list for promotion.

The lawsuit also says Forbes was passed over for promotion to a deputy chief position at least twice, including at least once where he was the top-rated candidate.

Forbes' suit requests a jury trial and asks that the defendants be assessed punitive damages "exceeding $10,000," and his attorney's fees and other costs.

The city has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 5, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Do you get a leg sprain jumping so hard to avoid questions? ;-)

    Why is it so difficult to treat people equally regardless of gender, skin color, religion, etc.? And, why would anyone be against this? This discrimination just gets labeled "politically correct behavior" and gives people a reason not to treat others fairly.

    IMO, this is unbelievably sad and wrong. YMMV

  • Ashley Moore Aug 1, 2014
    user avatar

    Maybe he is terrible at his job.

  • LetsBeFair Jul 31, 2014

    maybe people don't agree he is fit for the job ? ... I cant wait to see what an independent panel thinks.

  • Donald Holder Jul 31, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    That's what I was thinking. Wouldn't a promotion for the Assistant Chief be to Chief? Why would Chief Lopez promote someone to HIS job?

  • Joe Simpson Jul 31, 2014
    user avatar

    "The lawsuit also accuses Lopez and city officials disregarded Forbes' right to be free from illegal race discrimination in the workplace."

    Um, is there an editor in the house?

  • mike honcho Jul 31, 2014

    The assistant chief is not respected by any of his peers, Chief Lopez however,
    has every officers respect.

  • Jump1 Jul 31, 2014

    Just because he said he was the top does not mean it.

  • dang_skippy Jul 31, 2014

    Being at the "top of the list" or "top-rated" doesn't necessarily mean that you are the best qualified for that position. Just as a gleaming resume that checks all the boxes doesn't land you the job.

    What lands you the job is DOING the job and the effort and personality that you convey to the interviewers. If it is a promotion, then you should be showing the aptitude for the new position, not that you know how to just cross all the t's and dot all the i's.

  • Veronica Hammond Jul 31, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Maybe that variable should be factored into the promotion rating protocol. If it had been, maybe he wouldn't have a leg to stand. But since, according to the requirements, he was the top candidate per the promotion rating system, he is justified in his questioning. Did the female officer's (mentioned in the article) lack of brown nosing cause her to be looked over as well?

  • 68_dodge_polara Jul 31, 2014

    If only Political Correctness meant treating people EQUALLY regardless of gender, skin color, religion...