ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved a $1.455 million settlement to a lawsuit brought by eight current and former correctional officers who claimed they were discriminated against because of the color of their skin.
The lawsuit stems from a segregation order issued by Superintendent Steve Lydon at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Facility that didn’t allow any officers of color near Derek Chauvin after we was brought to the facility in May 2020.
The eight correctional officers, who identify as Black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and multiracial, claim Lydon issued a segregation order prohibiting all correctional officers of color from guarding, interacting, or even going to the floor where Chauvin was being held.
The lawsuit says Chauvin was brought to the facility on May 29, 2020. That afternoon, after Lydon issued the segregation order, an emergency call occurred in the jail. Multiple officers of color responded, however they were prevented from completing protocol until white officers arrived. This prevented the plaintiffs from completing their professional duties because of the color of their skin.
The plaintiffs allege Lydon issued the order because he did not trust them to carry out their duties because of their race.
"Trust and accountability are critical to our safety as correctional officers, and Superintendent Lydon’s segregation order broke this trust. Each of us is on our own journey toward healing from this damaging discrimination and the aftermath – and these settlements will help us open a next chapter. Our goal in bringing attention to the segregation order was to ensure Ramsey County was held accountable for its discriminatory actions and practices. We hope the County and Detention Center will continue working toward overall culture changes that create a safe and welcoming work environment for all," Devin Sullivan, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said in a statement.