Keith Wildhaber, an out 22-year veteran of the St. Louis County police is suing the department for discrimination, saying he was told to “tone down his gayness” if he ever wanted a promotion. The lawsuit was filed in 2017. The trial began on Tuesday.
Wildhaber told the court he was “sickened” after being told by former St. Louis County Police Board of Commissioners member John Saracino that he needed to “tone down his gayness” if he wanted to be promoted to lieutenant, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.
Wildhaber also said he was transferred to a precinct that tripled his commute and taken off of afternoon shifts and put on midnight shifts.
Wildhaber’s lawyers “depicted [Chief Jon] Belmar as having a penchant for promoting masculine men that dominates all promotional decisions and said that he will retaliate against anyone who questions them, as Wildhaber did by filing his lawsuit.”
Said Wildhaber: “The police department under Chief Belmar is big on high-testosterone, type A masculine personalities, and my method of policing doesn’t conform with that. This chief is very heavy on promoting the SWAT, masculine type of guys, and I wasn’t doing that.”
The trial is set to continue on Wednesday.
More at the Post Dispatch…