Lawsuit Claims Some Gadsden County Leaders are Racist

By: La'Tasha Givens Email
By: La'Tasha Givens Email

"This is a civil rights lawsuit it's filed in state court and has very detailed allegations in it," says David Frank attorney for the plaintiff's.

WCTV cameras were they only ones rolling as the lawsuit was filed Tuesday morning 2/15.

Joseph Wright with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference says "We have one commissioner that seems to be streamlining and ridding blacks of the system and we need to get rid of that behavior."

The suit accuses county commissioner Doug Croley and county administrator Johnny Williams of discriminating against former black county workers. Arkeba Bouie and James Sutherland are the plaintiffs but there are 8 other names listed as having grievances.

Page 5 of the lawsuit document says Williams and Croley told a department head they needed to lighten up- or whiten up the workforce. On another page, both are accused of forming a hit list of blacks they wanted fired.

"My clients are looking for justice. They care about equality, this is not about money to them this is about equality in this county," says Frank.

Commissioners say they are not allowed to speak about the lawsuit but told us the board did approve 36 people to be laid off to help balance a budget shortfall of $2.2 million and the lay-offs were part of a reorganization plan that was approved by the board.

"For the last 40 years we've been trying to rid ourselves of racial discrimination and institutional racism and this sort of thing ought not to be practiced in anybody's agency," says Wright.

Other residents told WCTV the majority of county employees are black, so it's not unreasonable to expect the majority of people fired would be black.

WCTV placed several calls to Gadsden County attorney Deborah Minnis for comment from the county but we have not heard back from her.

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