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A lesson in racism?

Black police sergeant files suit over cartoon used in SDPD training

Early 1900s comic passed around at training session
Early 1900s comic passed around at training session

Arthur Scott, an African-American police sergeant, filed a harassment and discrimination suit yesterday (January 20) against the City of San Diego.

Sgt. Arthur Scott

Scott, who has been with the San Diego force since 2004, says that discriminatory material was discussed at a weeklong training session. When Scott complained, he was passed over for a promotion and then forced to take a lateral transfer to the Central Division, which he did not want. He charges race discrimination/harassment and hostile work environment, among several things.

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At the class, the instructor passed around a racist cartoon published in the San Diego Sun in the early 1900s, featuring a drawing of Frank McCarter, the first black San Diego Police Department officer. In the cartoon, McCarter was "caricatured as ape-like, carrying a large pistol and brandishing an oversize police baton," charges the suit.

The cartoon was also offensive to those of Asian descent, charges the suit. The day after the cartoon was shown, Scott complained to the lieutenant in charge of the training. He acknowledged that the cartoon was offensive, according to the suit.

Scott says that assistant chief Todd Jarvis defended use of the cartoon. Soon, Scott was passed over for a promotion to an investigating sergeant's position and also forced to transfer to Central Division. He says he was threatened with disciplinary action on frivolous allegations of misconduct. This led to Scott filing the suit.

A spokesman for the city attorney's office said deputies will review the claim and defend the city.

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Early 1900s comic passed around at training session
Early 1900s comic passed around at training session

Arthur Scott, an African-American police sergeant, filed a harassment and discrimination suit yesterday (January 20) against the City of San Diego.

Sgt. Arthur Scott

Scott, who has been with the San Diego force since 2004, says that discriminatory material was discussed at a weeklong training session. When Scott complained, he was passed over for a promotion and then forced to take a lateral transfer to the Central Division, which he did not want. He charges race discrimination/harassment and hostile work environment, among several things.

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At the class, the instructor passed around a racist cartoon published in the San Diego Sun in the early 1900s, featuring a drawing of Frank McCarter, the first black San Diego Police Department officer. In the cartoon, McCarter was "caricatured as ape-like, carrying a large pistol and brandishing an oversize police baton," charges the suit.

The cartoon was also offensive to those of Asian descent, charges the suit. The day after the cartoon was shown, Scott complained to the lieutenant in charge of the training. He acknowledged that the cartoon was offensive, according to the suit.

Scott says that assistant chief Todd Jarvis defended use of the cartoon. Soon, Scott was passed over for a promotion to an investigating sergeant's position and also forced to transfer to Central Division. He says he was threatened with disciplinary action on frivolous allegations of misconduct. This led to Scott filing the suit.

A spokesman for the city attorney's office said deputies will review the claim and defend the city.

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