Trainee's bias suit dismissed

By Patsy Brumfield / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A woman’s discrimination lawsuit against the city of Tupelo was dismissed Monday.
U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock said she saw no evidence of racial or sexual bias during Latana Williams’ training for a job with the Tupelo Police Department.
Williams, an African-American woman, sued the police department and the city in March 2009, claiming she was hired provisionally and then discharged from her training class a week before graduation.
The city insisted that she failed courses in driving and firearms.
Williams, who was represented by Tupelo attorney Jim Waide, also wanted to re-enroll but reportedly was not given the opportunity. She insisted she was failed in the subjectively graded courses and was discriminated against because of her race and sex.
In her dismissal order, Aycock said Williams understood that her employment was conditional on passing all the requirements set by the police department and that while she may have “technically” passed the two courses, her extensive remediation caused instructors not to certify her at minimum standards.
Aycock wrote that the city offered “a sufficient legitimate non-discriminatory reason” why Williams was dismissed.
Her failures, “unsubstantiated assertions and conclusory allegations” are not evidence of any racial or gender bias on the part of the city or TPD, the judge noted.
The case was scheduled for an Oct. 4 jury trial in U.S. District Court.
Williams was seeking monetary damages and attorneys fees.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.