A gay Duluth police officer who says he was harassed by superiors because of his sexual orientation is meeting with city officials today after rejecting a $21,000 settlement offer from the city earlier this week, according to WSB radio.
Officer Bobby Johnson filed a complaint with the EEOC in February naming Lt. Chuck Wilson and Chief Randy Belcher for making anti-gay comments. Johnson said he was often the target of anti-gay jokes.
"The work environment became so hostile, I couldn't stand it," Johnson told the Duluth Patch.
On Monday, the city offered to settle the complaint with Johnson for nearly $21,000. Johnson refused. The city has denied the allegations.
“It is not about the money,” he told WSB radio. “It’s standing up for what is right. It’s for not being afraid to say what’s on your mind, speak from your heart, and tell the truth.
“I may never get a dime from the City of Duluth Police Department, but I can go to bed at night knowing that I did the right thing,” Johnson said. “I stood up for myself and I hope I stood up for other gay officers that may apply there.”
Johnson told Fox 5 Atlanta, “When you’re saying things behind my back just so people will laugh at me, based on my sexuality, or if you’re saying things to me to try to belittle me or berate me in front of other officers, it’s wrong.”
Johnson said the harassment began in 2006 after his fellow officers learned he was gay. He has received two Medal of Valor awards while on the Duluth force for saving a baby from a burning house and pulling a man from a burning car.