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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  • by Your friend on Feb 24, 2011 at 08:40 AM
    The deffense is going to argue the layoffs were a result of the economic hard times. There is a substantial amout of economical evidence to support that defense. You have a better chance of winning this case if you change your argument. You need to argue that the layoff were a direct result of their mispending of limited county funds in an economic recessession to persued an unsubstantiated case against a olitical opponet. That it was there persui of that political moivated case that resulted in the county's budget not having enough funding left in it to pay staff. Argue that they used county money, the county's court system, the county's sherriff office and other county resourse irresponsibiliy to persue there personal vendetta to such a mannor that they bankrupt the county's budget, a budget they were elected to perserve, and it was that irresponsible neglegent action that resulted in the county employees being laid off due to lack of funding. That argument will win.
  • by Brenda is not a victim on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM
    Clear Example, the reason why they don't like Brenda is because Brenda does not vote with them. If she voted with them they would like her. Her race is not the issue there. It is the fact that she is not on their side. I am not saying she should be on their side. I am saying they are against her because she votes against them if she voted with them they would care less of her being black, green or purple. Brenda is not a victim. She can hold her own. Stop painting her to be a victim, she is very well spoken and educated. She is not a victim. She won this case in public opinion, and said very little. She and I do not share the same political views, In fact Croley and I share closer political views however in this horse case I am clearly on the side that the case should not have been prosecuted. It my opinion it was politically, not racially motivated and it cost several county employees their jobs due to lack of funding. Brenda is a good politician;
  • by Clear Example Location: Still Here on Feb 21, 2011 at 09:39 AM
    It is amazing that people can comment on the downfalls and ignorance of situations posted all over this website, but when it comes to race you only have 29 comments over 2 weeks. The reality is that racism still exsist and no one is willing to tell the truth! SMH
  • by To All the Warriors who want to use my money to fight on Feb 21, 2011 at 07:29 AM
    Cheryl, you and the rest of your "horse Hope" friends have use enough of the community funding to rage war against Brenda Holt, I am not for or against your war with Brenda Holt I don't care either way But I don't want any more of the community's money to go towards it. If You want to rage war use you own money to fight your own personal enemy's not mine.
  • by Not so sure on Feb 21, 2011 at 05:50 AM
    John, be carefull what you wish for because there at one time was a leader of the minority race that was more detrimental to his own race more then any of the others ever could be. Just because somebody is the same race as you are, does not mean they can not be or will not be destructive to that race. It is not the race of a man that determines a good leader it is his character.
  • by Stop giving the attorney ammunition on Feb 21, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    Mr. Williams, the letter of termination that you wrote and the media publish in my opinion makes you appear to be unprofessional and personally vindictive In your role as a supervisor. You very well might not be those things, but your published letter opens you up and the rest of the governing body to be publically accused of what you are now being accused of. That is why, it so very important that people conduct them self’s professionally at all times, your publish termination letter stated that that employee worked at your will. You should not have written that s unnecessary Fl is a work at will state, everybody work at their employers will. Your employees are no different then any other FL. employee's you are not granted more power over employees then any other employer in Fl granted. That was unnecessary for you to write, and in my opinion make it very easy for attorney handling a discrimination suit to accuse you of creating a hostel work environment. You have to politic better.
  • by John Location: Gadsden on Feb 17, 2011 at 05:56 PM
    To Franklin Thompson-Actually the population of Gadsden is about 55% black so it would not be appropriate that 95% of the "layoffs" be black. Both Williams and Croley are indeed racists. Mr. Palmer quit because he would not do the racist work of Croley, but the "nice" thing about Williams is that he is not only bigotted against blacks, he is also bigotted against hispanics, females, heavy people, native americans, basically anyone who is not a WASP! Now Croley - he is dangerous. Williams is just Croley's bigotted interloper. Send them packing - NOW! Gadsden County citizens have worked too long and too hard to overcome and let all people advance - we cannot let these few bigoted "good ole boys" drag us back to the bad ole days! We, blacks, hispanics, native americans, middle easterners and whites MUST unite and rid the county of the trash - send WILLIAMS and Croley packing NOW!!
  • by Franklin Thompson Location: Tallahassee on Feb 17, 2011 at 06:37 AM
    Gadsden County's population is about 95% black which I would guess translates into probably a 95% black government workforce. If you have that many folks of one race in the workplace, a lot of those people are going to be laid off if layoffs are looming. To target the 5% 'minority' race is what would be discriminatory.
  • by EMAPP Location: Quincy on Feb 16, 2011 at 07:28 PM
    Gadsden county is sick, it needs help. Gadsden needs true leadership through our younger people. We need Charles Chapman, Ed Hinson, Hemitt Patel, Shia James, Richard May to step up and take the lead for us. The racial stuff needs to all come out and we need to fall below, and then let these young smart folk take over. They will help us, are not racial and actually know how to plan and get things done.
  • by Gadsden county Location: Quincy on Feb 16, 2011 at 06:27 PM
    Everyone knows that Croley and Williams are the biggest crooks. Croley is such a racist. Someone needs to check into why Williams record was sealed before he come here to be county manager. He has some skeletons in his closet as well. Croley has probably written more letters to some of the judges in the court system before. So much racism in politics. Both of them should be fired!!!
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