Nearly $1.5 Million Settlement Approved for Correctional Officers of Color Who Were Barred From Guarding Derek Chauvin

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners in Minnesota approved on Aug. 9 a nearly $1.5 million settlement agreement for eight correctional officers of color who were barred from guarding Derek Chauvin in 2020.

During a meeting on Aug. 9, the Board approved $1.455 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by officers — who identify as Black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander- American, and multiracial — at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center (ADC), managed by the Sheriff’s Office, in St. Paul.

The officers alleged in the lawsuit filed in February 2021 that Superintendent Steve Lydon prohibited them from “interacting with or guarding Chauvin,” the former white police officer convicted of killing George Floyd, a Black man.

The officers further alleged that Lydon issued an order to prohibit them from “going anywhere” on the fifth floor where Chauvin was held and that they were reassigned to other locations in the jail.

Lydon’s actions “segregated” the officers and prevented them from performing their duties “because of the color of their skin,” the lawsuit, filed under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, alleged.

The settlement agreement noted that the county “has denied and continues to deny liability.”

The settlement required the county to issue a statement and an apology acknowledging that Lydon’s order was “discriminatory and wrong.”

“The actions taken by Sheriff’s Office leadership that day were more than just wrong — they were racist, heinous, highly disrespectful, and completely out of line,” Ramsey County Board Chair Trista MatasCastillo said during the Aug. 9 meeting.

“No one ever should have questioned your ability to perform your job based on the color of your skin,” MatasCastillo added.


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