Sergeant who alleged ridicule over genetic test gets $65,000


Hastings police Sgt. Cleon Brown


HASTINGS, Mich. — A police sergeant who says he was ridiculed on the job in western Michigan after a genetic test showed he was part black has settled a lawsuit over his treatment for $65,000. The agreement obtained by The Grand Rapids Press using Freedom of Information Act request says Hastings police Sgt. Cleon Brown will be on paid administrative leave until Oct. 31, when he’ll resign.

Brown said online DNA test results from last year show he is 18 percent African, CBS affiliate WWMT reported. After the test, Brown says he was subjected to racial taunts including someone placing a black Santa Claus figurine in his Christmas stocking at the police station and officers whispering “Black Lives Matter.”

Brown had sued the city for $500,000 last year, according to WWMT. City Manager Jeff Mansfield said the settlement allows Hastings “to focus its efforts and resources on more productive endeavors.”

“The city did not believe the lawsuit had merit,” Mansfield said. “But when comparing the settlement to the cost and disruptive effect of defending the case,” he said, “it was in the City’s best interest to resolve the case on the terms in the mediated settlement agreement.”

The city earlier said Brown started the trouble by joking about the results.

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