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Cartoon Conflicts

January 28, 2015 Legal Team

The San Diego Police Department is being sued over the usage of an over century-old cartoon in training seminars. African American sergeant, Arthur Scott, who has been with the force for 10 years, filed a complaint with the department alleging the cartoon was racist and should be removed.

The cartoon in question was first published in the San Diego Sun newspaper circa 1909 and depicted the city’s first-ever African American officer, Frank McCarter, patrolling a Chinese neighborhood. McCarter is depicted as “ape-like” while racist Chinese images and the word “chinks” are plastered around the officer. The police department claimed they were using the cartoon to illustrate the political and social climate of the time.

Scott complained to the training instructor which resulted in the cartoon’s removal. Scott still escalated the complaint to the assistant chief of the police department. This is when the retaliation began, claims Scott.

He began being scrutinized heavily for small, minor things and disciplined constantly for his fieldwork. When a case had been built against his performance, the department transferred Scott to another position. It was common knowledge that the position Scott was moved to was very difficult to achieve a promotion in.

Scott has since filed a lawsuit against the police department for retaliation and harassment.

Source: LA Times