A federal jury rejected former Ithaca police officer Chris Miller’s racial discrimination claims in a verdict Thursday but held the city liable for $2 million for alleged retaliation.
Miller, a white officer, sued the city for $19 million in a lawsuit filed in 2010. He claimed that advancement opportunities within his office were favored towards non-white employees, and that minority and female officers were less strictly disciplined. Miller was given notice of dismissal June 1, 2010, shortly after being questioned for anonymous, derogatory online comments.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said the city is disappointed in the ruling.
“We believe this unfortunate verdict is the result of a number of serious errors,” Myrick said in an Oct. 18 press release. “We will likely appeal and hope the appellate court will right this wrong.”
A.J. Bosman, Miller’s attorney, said the department dismissed Miller because of his complaints.
“Mr. Miller was retaliated against, for complaining of racial discrimination,” Bosman said. “As a result of that retaliation, he was injured and harmed.”
According to another statement released by Myrick on Oct. 19, if the city appeals the verdict, there will be no immediate impact on the 2013 city budget. However, there will be a severe impact on the budgets for 2014 and 2015 if the appeal is denied.