Jail superintendent apologizes to 8 minority officers who said they were barred from guarding Derek Chauvin due to race – The Sun

A JAIL superintendent at the detention center where Derek Chauvin was being held, claims to have made an “erred in judgement” after he kept minority officers away from the ex-cop amid arrest over slaying of George Floyd.

On Friday, eight correctional officers of color at the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a discrimination suit with the state Department of Human Rights, saying they were barred from guarding or interacting with the former Minneapolis police officer, Chauvin, who is charged with murdering Floyd, a black man, on Memorial Day.

The discrimination charges filed claim the eight officers were reassigned or prevented from working in the unit where Chauvin was held last month. They were replaced with white colleagues and also allege that Chauvin was given special treatment in his brief stay in the prison.

Jail superintendent, Steve Lydon, claimed he worried members of the staff might suffer “racialized trauma” after Chauvin was brought in.

Lydon reportedly told his superiors that the decision was made quickly after he was informed Chauvin would arrive in 10 minutes.

He later recognized that his decision to bar all employees of color from interacting with the ex-cop was a mistake and apologized.


“Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made a decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings,” Lydon said in a statement.

“Shortly after making the decision, corrections staff expressed concern with the charge and within 45 minutes I realized my error and reversed the order.”

“I realized that I had erred in judgement and issued an apology to the affected employees,” Lydon added.

In the charges, officers detail their accounts of the orders to “segregate” from white correctional officers because they could not be trusted to carry out their responsibilities professionally around a high profile inmate because of the color of their skin, according to Attorney Bonnie Smith, who is representing all eight correctional officers.

According to Smith, in one instance, one of the correctional officers of color was patting Chauvin down during the booking process when he was allegedly told by the superintendent not to escort Chauvin any further, which the officer found odd.

When the officer raised concern up the chain of command, he was allegedly told by the superintendent that because he and the other officers were people of color they were a “liability” being anywhere  near Chauvin.

Smith said the move has left a lasting and damaging impact on worker morale.

The officers who filed complaints are African-Americans, Hispanic and Pacific-Islander-American, according to Smith.

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