COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A deputy chief for the Columbus Division of Police has filed a lawsuit alleging the department and the city of discrimination.
In the suit, Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight alleges she is being forced to resign or is having a “fabricated misconduct case” filed against her in order to get her fired because she said she is an “outspoken critic of Defendants’ unlawful, racist, and corrupt policies and practices.”
The lawsuit, filed Friday, names the city, Chief of Police Elaine Bryant, First Assistant Chief of Police Lashanna Potts, Mayor Andrew Ginther, retired city safety director Ned Pettus, and other city officials as defendants.
Knight was relieved of duty in November 2021 for failing to show up for a random drug test. She returned to work in December 2021.
Knight’s lawsuit claims she is being targeted due to speaking out about former Columbus Police Lt. Melissa McFadden.
McFadden was accused during a 2018 internal affairs investigation of creating a hostile work environment and harboring an “us against them” attitude when it came to Black and white officer. Knight is white, McFadden is Black. McFadden was awarded $2 by a jury in June after it found the city racially discriminated against and retaliated against McFadden.
Among the allegations leveled by Knight are that she was passed up for a promotion in 2019 in favor of a less qualified candidate, undermined and unfairly criticized by her male counterparts, and subjected to “direct observed collection” of urine following her reinstatement in December 2021.
Knight is seeking compensatory, special, and punitive damages.
The full lawsuit is below.