Austin police detective claims he was blocked from promotions due to race


An Austin Police Department detective claims in a lawsuit filed Friday that the department blocks black employees from top-ranking positions, CBS Austin reported. 

Officer Lamarcus Wells filed the suit, naming the city and former assistant police chief Justin Newsom in the complaint.

Wells said in the suit that despite strong performance reviews and solid recommendations, he was passed over for transfers to better positions 11 times over the course of eight years before being granted one. Other black officers were also denied transfers to those positions, the suit says.

Wells is one of the officers that Newsom allegedly described using a racial slur. That came to light in accusations made earlier in November regarding Newsom’s repeated use of such slurs through the years.

Newsom abruptly resigned after 23 years with the department. Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk will hire an outside investigator to examine the complaints.

In the lawsuit, Weeks seeks lost compensation he believes he would have received had he gotten one or more of the promotions.

The TV station reported that Police Chief Brian Manley said at a police accountability meeting earlier this week that the accusations against Newsom will be taken seriously “because the foundation of a strong police department is community trust.” 

Asked about Wells’ suit, Newsom referred CBS Austin to his previous statement on the broader allegations of racially charged comments. He said then that he didn’t remember specific comments but acknowledged that he had “used inappropriate language in private conversations with friends.”  


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