EEOC dismisses ex-police chief complaint

Jan. 14, 2014 @ 09:07 PM

Keith Sidwell, former police chief of Henderson, has been cleared in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed by a subordinate last April.

Ray Griffin, the city manager, confirmed the dismissal by the EEOC in an interview with The Dispatch.

“We did receive notice the EEOC made the determination: Based upon its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes,” Griffin said, reading in part directly from the notification.

He added, “They submitted this to the city on a dismissal notice of rights form.”

Griffin said personnel guidelines and state law prevented him from speaking about who filed the complaint or its contents. The dismissal notice is not public record and could not be obtained by The Dispatch.

The Dispatch was given a copy of the complaint by a city councilwoman, Sara Coffey, last year. At the time, Coffey said the officer would agree to its contents being released. The Dispatch declined to name the officer or quote details of the form signed April 30, 2013.

The alleged charge was discrimination based on race and retaliation.

Asked what the notice to the city means, Griffin said it advised all parties of the finding and what can be done.

“The dismissal part means they concluded their work and dismissed any further action on it,” Griffin said. “A notice of rights is a notice to the individual that made the claim of rights to pursue under federal law any personal or civil litigation, that is pursuant to rights and the statutes.”

Sidwell retired May 31, 2013, after leading Henderson’s police department to lower crime rates, as supported by the uniform crime index. Marcus Barrow, a captain under Sidwell, earned a promotion to chief of police last month following a national search.

“The city is certainly pleased to have received this notice of dismissal from the EEOC,” Griffin said. “We believe it speaks to the manner in which the department manages itself.”

 

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.