White St. Louis police chief candidate alleges bias

7 months 5 days 12 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:20:28 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The white former interim police chief of St. Louis is alleging discrimination based on race in the selection of a permanent chief.

Lt. Col. Lawrence O'Toole was among six finalists for the permanent job late last year. The job went to the only other internal candidate, John Hayden, who is black.

O'Toole has filed complaints with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Mayor Lyda Krewson, through a spokesman, said there was no discrimination and called the complaints "unfortunate."

Krewson chose O'Toole as interim chief after Sam Dotson retired on her first day in office in April 2017. O'Toole served about nine months.

In September, protesters accused police of heavy-handed arrests during demonstrations that followed the acquittal of a white former officer in the death of a black suspect. More than 100 people were arrested on a single night, including some journalists and many who claimed they were innocent bystanders.

The search for a permanent chief marked the first time St. Louis considered non-internal candidates. The city contracted with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to help with the search. A citizen's advisory committee also was involved.

The chief was ultimately chosen by Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards. Hayden, a 30-year veteran, was selected in December.

The complaints allege discrimination and retaliation, but details are not public records.

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