Ex-staffer sues Minnesota police board for discrimination

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former staffer for the Minnesota board that licenses police officers is suing the agency, alleging she was the victim of racial discrimination.

Starr Suggs, who had spent 28 years with the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board as an administrative specialist, told KSTP-TV the last straw came in February as a crowd gathered outside to protest the police killing of Amir Locke.

While the protest remained peaceful, Suggs, the only Black employee among a staff of about a dozen, said she was disturbed by the reaction of her white colleagues and supervisors.

“They were running around, panicking, ‘Oh my God, they’re coming!’” Suggs said. “They mentioned ‘Get your brass knuckles.’ One coworker was like, ‘Yeah, I have my knife.’ They were like, ‘Hey Starr, do you have our back?’”

Suggs resigned a month later and her experience on that day is now one of several incidents detailed in a racial discrimination lawsuit she filed against the POST Board last month.

The allegations came just weeks after the board, which regulates law enforcement officers across Minnesota, approved a plan to root out hate speech and white supremacy in policing.

The executive director of the POST Board, Erik Misselt, declined to comment, citing the litigation.

Late last year, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights confirmed several of details outlined in Suggs’ lawsuit but stopped short of calling it racial discrimination because board leaders “regularly treated all staff poorly,” KSTP reported. But department did find “probable cause” that leaders retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination.