St. Louis Case Leads Two Police Board Departures

Sgt. Keith Wildhaber (image via Wildhaber)

We have even more news concerning the case of the St. Louis police officer who sued his department for discrimination.

Keith Wildhaber has been a veteran police officer for 22 years. Despite his long-term commitment to the job, Wildhaber was passed over for promotion 23 times. When he sought advice over this problem, he was told by St. Louis County Police Board of Commissioners member John Saracino that he needed to “tone down his gayness.” He then filed a discrimination lawsuit and won $19 million.

Said Wildhaber about the case and situation:

“The police department under Chief Belmar is big on high-testosterone, type A masculine personalities, and my method of policing doesn’t conform with that. This chief is very heavy on promoting the SWAT, masculine type of guys, and I wasn’t doing that.”

Now, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the chairman of the St. Louis County police board has resigned and a board member is being replaced. This news came from a letter statement written by County Executive Sam Page. The letter announced board chairman Roland Corvington’s resignation and that board member Laurie Westfall would also be leaving. The letter also noted how the county had “not always done a good job” with addressing workplace discrimination.

“I sincerely believe the jury’s decision to award this verdict was a wake-up call to the department and its leadership that they have to be mindful of what is said and how it’s said and to be mindful of their conduct when engaging with their subordinates, their peers and the public for that matter,” said Corvington.

Westfall, meanwhile, defended the board. She claimed that had the board known of Wildhaber’s situation, they would have “defused” the issue. She also defended Belmar due to her “great respect for the chief.”

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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