Gay Missouri cop to finish career on 'my terms' after suit

1 month 2 weeks 6 days ago Thursday, February 13 2020 Feb 13, 2020 Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:18:00 AM CST February 13, 2020 in News
By: The Associated Press

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis County police lieutenant who was passed over for promotion 23 times said he has no plans to leave the department after he settled a discrimination lawsuit for $10.25 million.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Keith Wildhaber said Wednesday that he was happy with his new job as commander of the department’s new diversity and inclusion unit, which he was named to after jurors awarded him $20 million in October. Both sides entered into negotiation talks about the verdict, reaching a settlement this week.

“I’ve got 26 years in. I want to finish my career on my terms.”

Wildhaber, 47, said he was focused on learning how to promote diversity in the department and has no special plans for the windfall, other than to take care of family. The county agreed to pay Wildhaber $7 million within 60 days, and an additional $3.25 million by Jan. 31, 2021. After his lawyers are paid, he will clear $6.5 million.

Wildhaber said he had been out as a gay man for about half of his career. “There was a lot of time I just stayed in the closet, really for personal reasons.

“I had never even told my own family that I was gay,” he said. “My mother found out when I filed the lawsuit and it made it onto the TV. She told me ... she had woke up and she was making her coffee and she saw my picture on the TV and thought, oh my God. Something happened to him last night and they hadn’t called her yet. She said the story came on and it was a whole lot about nothing. So that was her way to tell me that she was OK ... that I was gay.”

The settlement was finalized hours after Jon Belmar announced his retirement as police chief. After the verdict, Belmar’s leadership was called into question, although County Executive Sam Page said Belmar’s retirement was not a condition of the settlement.

Wildhaber said he wishes Belmar well. He said the police force had some rebuilding to do, although not everyone in the department agreed there was a problem.

“There are some who think there weren’t any issues at all in the department, that everything was great,” he said. “And there are others … who felt marginalized.”

More News

Grid
List
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 9:00:00 AM CDT April 04, 2020 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who was driving a boat when a handcuffed... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 9:47:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Julia Griffin is in the same situation as millions of Americans. She doesn’t know when she’ll be able... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Stay-at-home orders and fears of catching or spreading COVID-19 means fewer people are leaving their homes unless they... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 6:30:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Veterans United Foundation is donating a total of $1 million to several communities for COVID-19 relief starting April... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 3:14:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The MU College of Textile and Apparel Management is making Personal Protective Equipment for MU Health Care. ... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 3:01:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One local business is finding a new way to stop that feeling of isolation. Ragtag Cinema shut... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 2:43:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLE COUNTY - The Cole County Health Department announced on Friday the first death of a Cole County resident due... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 2:31:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - As of 2 p.m. Friday, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services reported that the state... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 2:30:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
MISSOURI - Governor Mike Parson announced a statewide stay-at-home order for the state of Missouri on Friday afternoon. Parson... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 2:16:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change parts of our everyday lives. Living rooms have turned into offices and schools, businesses... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 12:48:40 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - You've probably heard it just about everywhere: staying active while staying home is important. It's especially important... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 11:54:00 AM CDT April 03, 2020 in Top Stories
AUDRAIN COUNTY - SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Audrain County will open its own drive-thru COVID-19 testing site starting... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 11:36:00 AM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 10:34:00 AM CDT April 03, 2020 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS — At least 27 long-term care facilities in Missouri have at least one resident or employee who has... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 8:21:00 AM CDT April 03, 2020 in Top Stories
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Dr. Christopher Sampson from MU Health Care about the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - As we all know by now, the world is warming. It is simply a fact. Take a... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 7:56:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Climate
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
2pm 47°
3pm 49°
4pm 51°
5pm 52°