A former Pennsylvania state trooper who was fired after his 18-month probationary period has filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for wrongful termination based on his race and alleged use of "Ebonics" in police reports.
William C. Peake, 29, graduated from police training in May 2009 and is part of a long list of family members who served on a police force, according to his attorney James H. Logan.
Peake was one of only four African-Americans in his graduating class of 75, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, but that did nothing for a graduate in a predominately white unit.
He was assigned to the Uniontown barracks, where the majority of the police force is white, leading to the alleged discrimination against Peake and his eventual termination.
"Plaintiff was judged by different and more harsh standards than other probationary troopers, because of his race," the lawsuit contends. The lawsuit also details that some of some of Peake's white graduates received more coaching and resources and are still members of the police force.
Peake did not fail his work reports and was even rated as satisfactory, but a few months before he received his termination letter in November 2010, he was taken of highway patrol and assigned desk duty, according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit states that Peake's termination letter revealed his reason for dismissal was due to "lack of solid job knowledge and basic police skills" as well as other safety concerns that were not revealed.
Logan also maintains in the lawsuit that Peake was "falsely accused of having used 'Ebonics' in his incident reports."
"They did not give him a fair chance," Logan told AP, adding that minorities make up only a small fraction of police forces around the country.
Maria Finn, Pennsylvania state police spokeswoman, stated that Peake is not suing any officers, but focusing his attention on the state police and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.