Menlo Park cop accused of racism back on duty | June 6, 2007 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - June 6, 2007

Menlo Park cop accused of racism back on duty

by Rory Brown

Three black former Menlo Park police officers are suing the city on the basis of racial discrimination in the police department, but Police Chief Bruce Goitia said the matter has been investigated, and the department has moved on.

At a May 31 West Menlo community meeting regarding local crime, Chief Goita said "outside counsel" has already looked into allegations made by former police officers Keith Butler, Joseph Hinkston and Ken Clayton that they were discriminated against by Sgt. Ron Prickett.

He said the investigation lasted six months, and determined "there were not elements of racism evident in the police department, nor was there evidence of a hostile work environment."

Sgt. Prickett was put on paid leave during the investigation, and has since returned to his role as patrol sergeant, Chief Goitia said.

Before the May 31 meeting, Chief Goitia told the Almanac he had no comment on the lawsuit, or any related issues.

In a lawsuit filed with San Mateo County Superior Court in October, the three officers allege that Sgt. Prickett "created an intimidating, hostile, abusive and offensive working environment" through a number of actions, including placing white-supremacist images in the workplace and calling their attention to them.

A jury trial for the lawsuit is tentatively set for Sept. 10.


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