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Former St. Cloud Police Officer Files Discrimination Suit

Former St. Cloud Police Officer Files Discrimination Suit

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A former police officer for St. Cloud, Minn., has filed a lawsuit against the city and its police department, charging that he was discriminated against because he is gay.

According to the St. Cloud Times, Sean Lathrop, 27, filed suit Monday after resigning from his nearly four-year career in April following a series of difficulties related to his sexual orientation.

"The lawsuit filed Monday contends Lathrop was considered a dedicated employee and was often recognized for his work, including his service on the Community Crime Impact Team," reported the Times. "In 2008 Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving named Lathrop as one of two Rookie Officers of the Year for his work to crack down on drunken driving.

"That high praise ended in May 2009 when police officials became aware of Lathrop's sexual orientation in a letter from a deputy police chief in the Minneapolis Police Department, according to the lawsuit. The letter to Ballantine was asking Lathrop to work at a community outreach booth at a Twin Cities gay pride event."

Dennis Ballantine, the police chief, allegedly told Lathrop that "there are no gay people in St. Cloud," and that he did not want the department represented at a gay pride event, according to the Times.

Lathrop is seeking punitive damages of at least $75,000 and compensatory damages of at least $75,000.

The city of St. Cloud denied the allegations.

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