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Public Safety

Lawsuit: Sergeant Punished For Racist Cartoon Complaint

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A San Diego police sergeant has filed a racial-discrimination lawsuit against the city claiming he was punished for complaining about a racist cartoon that was used in a training class, U-T San Diego reported Wednesday.

Ten-year department veteran Arthur Scott — who is black — says in the Superior Court lawsuit filed Tuesday that he was the victim of a hostile work environment and on-the-job retaliation after objecting, U-T San Diego reported.

San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a statement that the department will take the allegations "very seriously."

"We will fully cooperate and support any and all investigations into this matter," Zimmerman said.

At issue is a century-old newspaper cartoon mocking a black police officer in the city. It shows Chinese men in pigtails running in fear from an ape-like caricature.

The lawsuit said the cartoon was passed around in a training class without historical context on race relations.

Scott, 43, said he complained to a supervisor. He claims he was later passed over for a promotion, pressured into taking an undesirable transfer and threatened with disciplinary action "based upon frivolous allegations of misconduct."