U cop files complaint alleging discrimination

Longtime University police officer Jeffrey Gilchrist is seeking more than $50,000 in compensatory damages in federal court for what he claims to be racially motivated job discrimination.
Gilchrist, who is currently the only black officer on the University force, filed a 91-page complaint Nov. 24 in United States District Court. The complaint, which the University has yet to answer, demands a jury trial.
It lists the University, the police department and several of its employees as defendants, including University Police Chief Joy Rikala, who declined to comment on the ongoing case.
The complaint is arranged in a diary fashion where Gilchrist details the date and extent of each alleged incident of discrimination and other internal police department problems.
The University Police Department hired Gilchrist in 1988, after he was fired by the Minneapolis Police Department for allegedly hitting two other officers.
Gilchrist was terminated from the University force in January 1996 for failing to appear at court for a hearing, but was awarded his job back by an arbitrator. He was reinstated the following September.
However, Gilchrist alleges that his superiors conspired to fire him. He also says that between his termination and reinstatement his name was wrongfully moved from the top of a promotion list to the bottom.
In the complaint, Gilchrist details several incidents in which he had been unfairly disciplined for things that fellow white officers were not, such as tardiness and wearing sunglasses at roll call.
He also states that he has been subject to racially offensive graffiti and cartoons displayed by other employees. Furthermore, he alleges that his personal property was tampered with on several occasions.
University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg said the University will aggressively defend the allegations.
“The public has the right to know whether those claims should be given any kind of credit, given the fact that he has the worst disciplinary record of any police officer on our force in the last 10 years,” Rotenberg said.
Gilchrist, who in his complaint expressed his desire to see more black officers on the force, continues to work for the University Police Department but could not be reached for comment.

— Staff Reporter Andrew Tellijohn contributed to this report.