Wyoming's first Black sheriff fired a white deputy accused of harassing the only Black corporal in the department by hurling racist epithets, leading the Black officer to resign in 2017, a federal lawsuit states, according to CBS News.
Cpl. Jamin Johnson filed a discrimination lawsuit against Albany County Patrol Sgt. Christian Handley.
According to the lawsuit, Handley spewed racial slurs like the n-word and "jigaboo" at Johnson, CNN reports. When Handley received a promotion, the harassment escalated.
The lawsuit detailed a particular incident, accusing Handley of driving past and yelling racial epithets at Johnson while the corporal was leaving his home with his wife and children.
"Mr. Handley later apologized for having not realized that Mr. Johnson's family was present, as if his vile racism was otherwise acceptable," the lawsuit states, according to CBS News.
Johnson is now suing Handley for damages for his racist behavior that spanned years and led to Johnson quitting his job.
Handley is also accused of racially harassing Black citizens.
The racist allegations surfaced after the appointment of Aaron Appelhans, Wyoming's first Black sheriff.
Appelhans said on Monday that he didn't learn of the allegations until after he was hired. After an investigation in 2021, he fired Handley.
He has since made changes in the department, transferring internal investigations from the sheriff's office to the county human resources office. Appelhans will also sign off on new hires, promotions and dismissals personally.
"It's just disappointing to learn how long it had been going on before my arrival. I'll always continue to make sure that our department is not only welcoming to those who want to work in our department, but welcoming to those in our community as well," Appelhans said, according to CBS News.