U of M officer files lawsuit claiming racial discrimination

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A University of Memphis police officer claims he was racially discriminated against and has filed a lawsuit against the school.

The lawsuit was filed last week by John G. Hudgens against The University of Memphis.

According to the lawsuit obtained by WMC Action News 5, Hudgens previously worked for Memphis Police Department for more than 30 years. The university's website still lists Hudgens as an officer.

Hudgens, a white man who was hired by the university in August of 2012, claims he suffered harassment and disparate treatment based on his race by supervisor Lt. Robert Crout, who is black.

The lawsuit claims Crout made racially offensive comments to Hudgens and other white officers, which included Crout referring to himself as the "HNIC" and that the officers would "get used to it."

The lawsuit also alleges Hudgens experienced harassment and intimidation after he participated in an equal employment opportunity complaint (EEOC) filed by a fellow officer. It claimed they were given tougher work loads and conditions.

Hudgens claims the discrimination continued when he was assigned a new supervisor, Sgt. Marco Anderson, who is also black, in February.

The former U of M officer said he was denied overtime while other African-American officers were not, and he said after filing two of his own EEOC charges of discrimination based on race and retaliation, others who were not involved in the process were treated more favorably.

Hudgens is seeking back pay, lost benefits, damages for emotional distress, and reinstatement.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to the attorneys for both parties involved and is currently awaiting response from both.

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