Illustration for article titled St. Louis Assistant Police Chief Files a Lawsuit Claiming He Was Denied a Promotion Because He’s White
Photo: St. Louis Police Department (AP Images)

White men can’t jump but apparently, they sure can leap.

The assistant police chief for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was told he was passed up for the chief of police position due to events that happened under his watch involving a black man who was fatally shot by police and subsequent protests. He interpreted this to mean one thing: He was passed up for a promotion because he’s white. Now, he’s suing the city and the police department alleging that he’s a victim of racism.

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole filed his lawsuit on May 1 claiming he was told by Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards that, “If Jason Stockley didn’t happen, you would be the police chief.”

In 2011, police officer Stockley shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man suspected of a drug-related crime, after a high-speed chase and crash. Jason “I’m going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it!” Stockley was charged with first-degree murder after he shot Smith at point-blank range with an AK-47 he wasn’t supposed to be carrying. He was found not guilty in 2017 and, as a result, protests ensued, including one where a black undercover police officer was beaten by other officers—one among several complaints of St. Louis police officers using excessive force against protesters.

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The acquittal and resulting protests happened while O’Toole was acting police chief. Despite all of that chaos and controversy, O’Toole has somehow interpreted Edwards’ words as explicit proof that his whiteness is the reason he didn’t get the job. Edward, unsurprisingly, says something different.

“I gave him several reasons why he did not get the job. And race was not one of them,” Edwards said.

Perhaps O’Toole’s belief that his race was the reason he was passed on is based on something much simpler: A Black man got the job he wanted.

According to the Dispatch, Chief John Hayden, who is black, was promoted to chief after Mayor Lyda Krewson appointed a citizen advisory board to conduct meetings—which were open to the public—as part of a selection process to find someone to replace the city’s former chief, Sam Dotson, who retired suddenly. O’Toole claims there was a clear bias against him on the part of the advisory board and that the meetings were made public as a way of embarrassing him.

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But let’s be real: He wouldn’t be the first white man to go on some anti-affirmative action tear because he just can’t fathom the idea that a black person might be better qualified for a job than he is.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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