A former police officer from the University of Delaware has accused the University and the chief of police of racial discrimination because he was fired after calling out his bosses during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, according to Delaware Online.
The officer, Raushan Rich, was charged with insubordination after he shared his disagreement with the COVID-19 protocol put in place by the University that required officers to move COVID-positive students to quarantine.
According to Delaware Online, Rich, who is a Black man, claims that he was disciplined while his white colleagues were not.
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In August 2020, after students returned to campus for the fall semester, the university established quarantine housing for any on-campus students who tested positive for COVID-19.
UD police officers drove students who had tested positive from their on-campus rooms to the quarantine housing but received no training on how to use the “transport vans” or “decontamination machines” or how to properly wear and dispose of the personal protective equipment, according to the suit.
Rich, who was a sergeant at the time, expressed concerns to his superiors over possible COVID-19 exposure. He was instructed that officers would be required to conduct the transports until September “regardless of the risk,” court documents state.
On the evening of Aug. 30, Rich received a dispatch call to transport a COVID-positive student but he declined, citing “unnecessary risk and exposure for non-law enforcement purposes,” according to court documents.
He was eventually forced to pick an officer from his squad for the transport who “reluctantly agreed,” the lawsuit states. The officers were hesitant about the task and stated they were “unwilling to conduct the transport,” according to the suit.
Later that same night, Rich was placed on emergency administrative leave and investigated and eventually fired for insubordination, according to Delaware Online.
Before this incident, Rich had no disciplinary issues with the University of Delaware Police Department even though he was with the department for over eight years.
The lawsuit says, according to Delaware Online, “Defendant has engaged in a pattern and practice of disproportionately treating and disciplining its African American officers while failing to discipline its Caucasian officers.”