September 28, 2016 at 2:41 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Judge dismisses part of gay D.C. cop’s bias lawsuit
Donita Dodds, Cathy Lanier, MPD, lawsuit, Metropolitan Police Department, gay news, Washington Blade

Former D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has said the department does not tolerate anti-LGBT discrimination. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A federal judge on Monday dismissed three of 11 counts in a lawsuit filed last year by a gay former D.C. police officer accusing fellow officers and supervisors of subjecting him to discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on his sexual orientation.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed the three counts in response to a motion filed in January by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine asserting that former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Christopher Lilly failed to state a valid claim that the alleged discrimination violated his First and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights.

As part of his Sept. 26 ruling, Sullivan ordered the city to respond by Oct. 10 to the remaining eight counts of Lilly’s lawsuit that still stand. Those counts charge that the alleged discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by the MPD against Lilly violate the D.C. Human Rights Act and Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Lilly charges in his lawsuit filed in May 2015 that between 2011 and 2013 he was subjected, among other things, to repeated anti-gay name-calling and other forms of harassment, including the placement of AIDS stickers on his locker at the Fourth Police District, where he was stationed.

The lawsuit says the discriminatory actions began shortly after December 2010 when “without plaintiff Lilly’s knowledge or consent, his sexual orientation, homosexual, was publicized maliciously and intentionally” at the Fourth District.

“Following plaintiff Lilly’s ‘outing,’ any officer to come into contact with plaintiff Lilly subjected him to scrutiny, retaliation and ridicule by means of vulgar language, slandering his name and abilities to function as a police officer and questioning his abilities to serve due to his sexual orientation,” the lawsuit says.

Police officials and the Office of the Attorney General, which is defending the city against the lawsuit, have declined to comment, saying they never discuss pending litigation. Neither Lilly nor his attorney, Sameera Ali, responded to a request by the Blade for comment.

The city’s response to the remaining counts in the lawsuit, due by Oct. 10, would become the city’s and the MPD’s first response to Lilly’s specific allegations of discrimination.

The Attorney General’s court brief calling for dismissal of the lawsuit’s constitutional claims limited its arguments to procedural and legal issues and did not address Lilly’s claims of being subjected to anti-gay discrimination and harassment.

The Fourth District commander at the time the alleged discrimination against Lilly occurred, Kimberly Chrisley-Missouri, has since been promoted to the rank of deputy chief and is said to be among those under consideration to replace Cathy Lanier as D.C.’s next permanent police chief.

The lawsuit says Lilly filed an internal complaint with Chrisley-Missouri informing her of the discrimination and harassment he said he was encountering at the Fourth District but received no response from her.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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