A Sewickley man has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania alleging that he was fired from his job as a state police trooper because of racial discrimination.
William C. Peake, 29, of Walnut Street, also alleges in the civil suit filed in U.S. District Court on Dec. 4, that he was falsely accused of using “Ebonics” in his incident reports.
According to the lawsuit, Peake graduated from the police academy in May 2009, and was one of four African-American graduates in the class of 75.
Peake began an 18-month probationary period and was assigned to the Uniontown barracks, which is headquartered in Washington, PA, according to the suit.
His probationary period was to expire on Nov. 3, 2010, and according to the suit, Peake was notified at various times during his employment that his report writing was deficient.
The lawsuit suit says that Peake was awarded two certificates in report writing and communications and one of his trainers compared his skills favorably to those who had been on the job for years, as regular troopers.
His last two written performance evaluations also indicated he was making progress in a number of categories, the lawsuit states.
During the last few months of his employment, Peake was taken off the road and away from his normal duties as a highway trooper and placed almost exclusively on desk duty, the suit states.
He was terminated on Nov. 3, 2010 and a letter listed the reasons as a “lack of solid job knowledge and basic police skills, along with officer/public safety concerns,” according to the lawsuit.
The suit states that Peake was “treated differently” because he is black and “judged by different and more harsh standards” to prevent him from becoming a full-fledged state trooper.
Peake is seeking to be reinstated as a trooper and compensation for the loss of wages and benefits as determined by a jury.