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Police Lieutenant Files Discrimination Suit Against Dallas

Dallas Morning News via YellowBrix

October 12, 2010

DALLAS – A Dallas police lieutenant says she was denied a promotion in the wake of her officer husband’s slaying because she is a black woman, according to a lawsuit filed against the city.

Lt. Regina Smith said City Manager Mary Suhm denied her a promotion to deputy chief in May 2009 – four months after Dallas police Senior Cpl. Norman Smith was fatally shot in the line of duty – because it was too early in the grief process to promote her, according to the lawsuit filed earlier this month.

Smith said then-Chief David Kunkle promised her in front of then-Assistant Chief Charlie Cato that he would promote her at a later date. Later that year, Smith was transferred from her post as Kunkle’s administrative lieutenant to the Southeast Patrol Division.

The new position “would have been in line with being promoted by Chief Kunkle to the position of deputy chief at the southeast division, as promised,” the lawsuit said.

But early this year, Kunkle promoted Tammy Ellzey, who is white, to deputy chief and assigned her as commander at Southeast Patrol. Smith said in the lawsuit that Kunkle then reversed himself and said he had not promised her a promotion.

Smith was transferred to Southwest Patrol after she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She said that transfer was retaliation for her complaint, according to the lawsuit.

The Dallas County lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including compensation for lost wages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.

Kunkle, who retired in May, did not return a call seeking comment. A city spokesman said officials had not seen the lawsuit and therefore could not comment.

During his nearly six years as chief, Kunkle promoted at least a dozen women and minority police officers to key positions on his command staff. Among them was the top deputy for most of his term, current Police Chief David Brown, who is black, and current First Assistant Chief Cato, who is Hispanic.

The Southeast Patrol commander prior to Ellzey was a black woman, as is the commander of the South Central Patrol Division. Kunkle promoted both.

Norman Smith, 43, and fellow Dallas police Gang Unit members were serving a warrant at a crime-ridden apartment complex when Smith was shot on Jan. 6, 2009.


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  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    A verbal contract is only as good as the paper it is written on ....

  • My_kids_027_max50

    grant319

    almost 4 years ago

    1208 Comments

    This is going to be an interesting one to follow.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    Initially, this sounds like someone who doesn't work and play well with others, but like Irishcop1961 says, gotta take a "wait and see" approach over this ......

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    almost 4 years ago

    51094 Comments

    I will wait to see how this plays out.

  • 131050241_max50

    leo52011

    almost 4 years ago

    608 Comments

    @ nolarn2bcop
    Dallas does not have captains anymore. There are only 2 left and they are getting close to retirement

  • Snoopy-cool_max50

    nolarn2bcop

    almost 4 years ago

    72 Comments

    Does Dallas have a different rank system than everyone else? Since when does someone get promoted from Lieutenant straight to Deputy Chief?

  • Justice-400_max50

    clobster

    almost 4 years ago

    1552 Comments

    Sounds like BS but who knows. I'll just wait to see what happens.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    Hmmm....someone who is already an LT...complaining for not having even more "power"....and then using some childish bs complain she knows will get press.....yep, thats LE for you. It sure aint the military...

  • Blade_runner_4_max50

    BR_260354

    almost 4 years ago

    338 Comments

    It sounds like they are dealing with a 5 year old. "But you said I could be a lieutenant!"

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    Incompetent leadership, PCness beyond ALL expectations and *The RACE CARD*... The driving force of the Dallas P.D.

    Once upon a time the Dallas P.D. was a shining example for the nation... Once upon a time...

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