Former Minneapolis officer-in-training claims age, race discrimination in lawsuit

In a lawsuit filed Saturday, a former Minneapolis Police officer-in-training said the department discriminated against him because of his race and age when he was discharged in 2017.

According to the lawsuit, Andrew Arashiba said his Japanese national origin and his age, 48, led to his termination. He was the only Japanese officer in the department at the time and was the second oldest trainee.

As an example, Arashiba’s lawsuit pointed to the cases of former Minneapolis officers Michael Mays and Mohamed Noor and their treatment while in the department’s probationary training program.

“The City of Minneapolis coddled and overlooked the professional shortcomings of Minneapolis Police Officers Michael Mays and Mohamed Noor, African-American and Somali-American respectively, while imposing degrading treatment, lower performance ratings and ultimate discharge of Arashiba, in spite of his objectively satisfactory performance as a probationary police officer,” the lawsuit read.

The lawsuit says May was involved in the non-fatal shooting of two dogs while responding to a call in North Minneapolis in 2017. Also in 2017, Noor was convicted of homicide for the fatal shooting of Justine Damond.

In addition to those high profile examples, the lawsuit claims Minneapolis extended probationary treatment for women, African-Americans and Somali police officers, but did not do the same for him. It also points to examples of other officers who failed tests, violated the law outside of the job, used incorrect call signs and even one who crashed a car during training and kept their jobs.

Arashiba and his attorneys claim he did not commit any safety violations, regulation breaches or receive any “not responsive to training” grades, or NRTs, during his probation.

The lawsuit claims other African-Americans, women and Somali probationary officers did receive such NRTs, however.

The Minneapolis Police Department and the city attorney’s office both declined to comment on the lawsuit at this time.