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Lloyd v. Mayor, City of Peru

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

May 29, 2018

FREDRICK B. LLOYD, Plaintiff,
v.
MAYOR, CITY OF PERU, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Robert L. Miller, Jr. United States District Court.

         Fredrick Lloyd, former police officer for the Peru Police Department, was terminated from his employment on April 3, 2015 for multiple disciplinary violations. Mr. Lloyd filed this suit against the Mayor of the City of Peru and the Chief of the Peru Police Department, alleging claims of race and age discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq; Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 622, 623(a). The defendants moved for summary judgment with respect to all claims. The court grants the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Mr. Lloyd was a patrol officer with the police department from 2003 until his termination in 2015. Mr. Lloyd was terminated based on a Discipline Matrix that sets forth violation levels for when an officer commits a violation.

         The record shows that Mr. Lloyd has violations going back to 2008. In July of that year, Mr. Lloyd was reprimanded for running an Indiana Data and Communications System ("IDACS") III inquiry on himself, after receiving a Notice of Violation from IDACS. Two years later, Assistant Chief Steve Hoover gave Mr. Lloyd a written reprimand and suspended his take-home car privileges because Mr. Lloyd took his marked police vehicle outside of Miami County.

         Mr. Lloyd's violations become more frequent in the years leading up to his termination. On September 16, 2013, Assistant Chief Rick Keller had given Mr. Lloyd a written reprimand for being late to a mandatory firearms training. On November 20, 2013, Lt. Michael Meeks had given Mr. Lloyd a verbal reprimand for having a negative balance on his comp time. On August 18, 2014, Assistant Chief Keller issued Mr. Lloyd a written reprimand on missing a mandatory training.

         In September 2014, Mr. Lloyd made allegations that some members of the police department were engaging in illegal activities. City Attorney Bill Berkshire encouraged Mr. Lloyd to report any criminal activity to the Indiana State Police immediately. Mr. Lloyd was ordered to appear before the Board of Works on October 1, 2014 to present the evidence that he had for the Board's review. At that hearing, Mr. Lloyd allegedly questioned the Board's authority, provided a stack of papers that he claimed showed criminal activity, and confirmed that the evidence was in the stack of papers. The Board ordered Mr. Lloyd to submit any additional evidence by October 10, 2014; Mr. Lloyd didn't produce any. In reviewing the papers he had provided, the Board concluded that Mr. Lloyd's allegations of criminal conduct were unfounded. Mr. Lloyd was suspended for violation of a policy that involves an act amounting to misuse of authority or ethical offense and/or that creates or poses a potential for a clear serious adverse impact on public safety or the professional image of the department, as well as a Class D offense for conduct unbecoming an officer for making unfounded allegations in a public forum about other officers.

         Mr. Lloyd was given another five-day suspension on December 8, 2014, for several offenses: falsifying a report, two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for lying regarding his shift and the inventory form, disobeying a direct order and being absent from work without authorization for leaving his shift two hours early, and failing to comply with a general order for failing to file an inventory form.

         On January 26, 2015, Mr. Lloyd was subpoenaed for a deposition in the Miami County Public Defender's Office and didn't appear. Mr. Lloyd sent an e-mail to Officer Rick Keller on January 30, 2015 saying he had made contact with the Prosecutor's office in regard to how his testimony would impact the case that was not his own and that he asked for an alternate date but couldn't say to whom he spoke. The defendants say that Mr. Lloyd never contacted the prosecutor. This constituted conduct unbecoming an officer and failure to appear for deposition in violation of the police department's general orders.

         On March 4, 2015, Mr. Lloyd had a confrontation with a supervising officer after he was asked to return the AR-15 rifle that had been issued to him. Mr. Lloyd was reprimanded for violating a policy that involves an act amounting to misuse of authority or ethical offense and/or that creates or poses a potential for a clear serious adverse impact on public safety or the professional image of the department, as well as a Class D offense for conduct unbecoming an officer.

         After the January 26, 2015 and March 4, 2015 incidents, Chief Raney recommended Mr. Lloyd's termination to the Board of Works because Mr. Lloyd was at level 15 on the Discipline Matrix, and termination is the presumptive sanction at level 8. Mr. Lloyd was placed on administrative leave beginning March 9, 2015. The Board held a hearing on April 3, 2015 at Mr. Lloyd's request. Mr. Lloyd appeared but refused to enter the hearing or participate. The board held the hearing and voted to terminate Mr. Lloyd. The Board issued findings of fact and conclusions of law on its decision to terminate based on his accumulation of discipline under the Discipline Matrix. On the same day, four white male officers were also terminated based on Chief Raney's recommendations in addition to Mr. Lloyd-Jules Buffington, Bill Wood, Jason Ballard and Sam Finnegan. A fifth white, male officer, Greg Martin, was terminated based on Chief Steve Hoover's recommendation.

         Mr. Lloyd disputes this version of the events. Mr. Lloyd says he wasn't properly notified about the hearing and was searched before the start of the hearing; no other officer similarly situated was treated that way. Mr. Lloyd says he didn't attend the hearing in fear that he would be publicly humiliated.

         Mr. Lloyd says that after he protested that he was being treated unfairly, he was subjected to disparate treatment and retaliation, a pattern or practice of discrimination involving a hostile work environment, threats of disciplinary action, formal disciplinary action, exclusion from training, lack of opportunity or consideration for promotion, suspension from employment without pay, and ultimately, wrongful termination. In addition, he says, the police department didn't follow its progressive plan in the discipline and termination of Mr. Lloyd's employment.

         Mr. Lloyd says that all of the managers to whom he reported at the police department were of European descent, and Mr. Lloyd was the only person of African-American descent employed as a police officer. Mr. Lloyd further noted that after his termination, the police department hired several ...


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