Former Emory police officer files discrimination complaint again - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Former Emory police officer files discrimination complaint against university

(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

A former Emory University police officer is speaking out only to CBS46 as he makes serious allegations against his former employer with a 13-page complaint full of discrimination allegations. 

Keith Kirkland, 31, lost his job earlier this year as he was fired after four years as a police officer with the university. Even with a bachelors degree, it's been tough getting another job.

"I'm still looking for work," says Kirkland. "I applied to other law enforcement agencies, [but] nobody's getting back to me."

He says the problems started when he started complaining about what he believes were policy violations and officer safety issues.

"The radio communication was not properly utilized," says Kirkland.

At the first sign of trouble, he started documenting his appearance with video recordings, emails and audio conversations with various bosses.

"My Sergeant said, 'Officer Kirkland, I got an email from one of the Captains who said you need to change your hair,' and I said, 'What exactly is wrong with the hair?' The Sergeant said, 'I don't know, they just sent the email.'"

He says he recorded audio on his last day from his chief saying, "Got to have a bad conversation...What prompted me to look at the file was this recent exchange between you and Sgt. Williams about appearance, and it really, Keith, wasn't about the technicalities where you went, it was the demeanor which you took what I feel like was constructive criticism from a supervisor."

"They said it was a south of France hairstyle," says Shawn McCullers, who is Kirkland's attorney. "That's what his supervisors said, that's what their response says. And why is that a problem if you're an officer? Exactly. It doesn't violate policy, clearly, because as we plan to air out in open court, there isn't a policy that my client has violated."

A spokesperson with Emory said they didn't want to do an on-camera interview, but did say, "Mr. Kirkland is no longer an employee of Emory University. The university has responded, as appropriate, to his complaint."

McCullers says if the federal government doesn't take the case to court, he will.

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