A sheriff’s second-in-command in Louisiana is accused of discriminating against a co-worker and using a racial slur against the employee, the New Orleans Advocate reports.
Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jerry Ursin allegedly threatened employee Ronald Coleman Sr., calling him a “stupid, ungrateful n—ger” during an altercation involving parking last summer, the news site notes. According to the report, outsiders witnessed the altercation, which became the topic of discussion in the sheriff’s office at the time.
Ursin, a veteran law-enforcement officer, is white. Coleman, who is an engineer for the office, is black. In a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court last week, Coleman claims that he was “verbally assaulted.”
Coleman claims that the incident began in August 2014, when he went to look into a “hot complaint” on the second floor of an administrative building for the sheriff’s office. The engineer looked at the air conditioning units on the roof but needed to check units inside the building, requiring the use of a ladder.
Coleman claims that he parked his department-issued vehicle in the parking lot, only to be approached by an angry Ursin.
“Do you know that you are blocking my parking?” Ursin demanded, according to the complaint. Ursin allegedly continued his disparaging comments, accusing Coleman of not acknowledging the “Do not park” sign and calling him “ungrateful, selfish and just plain stupid.
Coleman says that he “attempted to explain and offer an apology … but Deputy Chief Ursin requested his name” and employee identification before saying, “You will pay for this.”
In the lawsuit, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, who is black, and Ursin are listed as defendants. Coleman is seeking unspecified damages and a court order “permanently restraining [the defendants] from engaging in such unlawful conduct,” the Advocate notes.
Read more at the New Orleans Advocate.