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Ousted Medina Police Chief Charges Racism in Lawsuit Against City

Former Medina Police Chief Jeffrey Chen filed a lawsuit against the city of Medina this week, accusing city officials of racism against Chen's Chinese-American heritage.

Former Police Chief Jeffrey Chen filed a lawsuit in federal court against Medina City Manager Donna Hanson and former Mayor Bret Jordan, claiming that the city of Medina violated his rights when it fired him in April and saying that there was a "culture of bias" against racial minorities that resulted in a hostile work environment. 

Chen and then rescinded his resignation in December 2010. However, rather than reinstate Chen, and launched an investigation of him. That culminated in her , including lying during two city investigations, abusing his position in voiding some tickets, making improper purchases and improperly accessing the city’s email archives.

Many residents disagreed with the action, and .

In the 78-page filing made in U.S. District Court, Chen's lawsuit states that he "endured and suffered personal attacks against him by people in positions of authority or supporters who were past, current, or future members of the City Council, former and current City employees, and citizens." It cited instances in which he said that city officials and employees made derogatory statements about blacks and Asians, and made disparaging statements to Chen regarding his Chinese-American background.

Chen states that Hanson was less communicative with him than she was with non-minority employees and said she had failed to discipline employees for making derogatory racial statements to Chen and others. In the lawsuit, he also said that the investigation that led to his firing was not conducted according to the city's policies and procedures. He also disputed the investigation's conclusion that he accessed the city's email system inappropriately.

The lawsuit asks to reinstate Chen to his former position as city police chief or for an award of future wages and benefits lost in an amount to be determined at trial.

Hanson told Patch on Friday that she couldn't comment because of the pending litigation. 

Previous coverage:

  •  (June 14)
  •  (May 10)
  •  (April 29)
  •  (April 29)
  •  (April 28)
  •  (Jan. 21)

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