“When we got to the 3rd floor, we realized that all the employees of the facility’s color were on that floor, and we were separated from the 5th floor,” said Chauvin, where the employee was accused of discrimination.
Correctional Facility Superintendent Steve Lydon reversed the decision shortly after, but said all eight employees were “deeply humiliated” by the “separation order.”
“I believe Ramsey County’s actions are discriminatory because they have publicly isolated and separated officers of color because of the color of our skin,” officials said in their complaints.
The prison officer gives his story
When Chauvin informed him on May 29 that he would soon return to jail, Lydon said the decision to reinstate some correctional officers to other posts, according to a statement provided by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
At the time of his arrest in Minneapolis, Chauvin, and other officers were kneeling over a black man named Floyd. The release of the bystander video of Floyd’s death and arrest has led to nationwide protests.
“I felt that the immediate task was to protect and support the wounded and the continuing trauma-enhancing workforce by dealing with Chauvin, recognizing that George Floyd’s murder was particularly serious.”
“Without due diligence and concern, and without the comfort of time, I have made the decision to restrict the murder conviction to disclosure to employees of color. He can exacerbate those feelings.”
Lydon said he reversed his decision within hours.
“Shortly after the decision, the correctional staff expressed concern about the change and within 45 minutes realized my error and reversed the order,” he said.
“I met with people who were working at the time and explained to them what my thinking was at the time, and assured them that the decision was made with the utmost concern and that it had nothing to do with their professional competence. Or Chauvin’s safety.”
“I realized I had made a mistake in the judgment and apologized to the affected employees.”
Authorities attorney Bonnie Smith said in a statement that the change had come too late. “The damage was done at the time. The shifts were reassigned and at least one color officer assigned to the 5th floor over the weekend was reassigned to another floor by the time Chauvin was detained in jail.”
According to a statement from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Lydon’s duties have been revised, with Sheriff Bill Fletcher reviewing the situation to determine if additional action is needed.
Prosecutors have charged Chauvin with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree murder for his role in Floyd’s death on May 25.
Officials seek compensation for mental distress
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights communications director Taylor Putz told CNN that state law does not allow the company to release discrimination or other information until the case is closed.
In addition, Putz said the department did not close the case and could not comment.
Officers in legal action identify themselves as African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander American or mixed.
Smith’s statement said they would like to take steps to ensure that non-discriminatory behavior at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center is recurring, as well as to compensate for their mental distress and lost earnings.
Smith said Chauvin stopped one of his clients in the middle of the booking, saying he would not transport Chauvin to his unit, Smith said in a statement.
Another official said color correction officers had been informed in the middle of responding to an emergency call that going to the fifth floor would not allow an emergency protocol to be completed until the whites arrived.
“The Ramsay County Sheriff’s Office distinguishes hard-working employees of color from high-ranking inmates because of their skin color,” Smith said in a statement. “It’s not shameful and degrading to categorize employees according to their race and skin color. These correctional officers work to keep our society safe and make employment decisions based on their performance, not their skin color.”