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Former Chattanooga police officer files workplace discrimination lawsuit

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Contributed Photo / Former Chattanooga police officer Cameka Bruce is suing the department for alleged workplace discrimination.

Former police officer Cameka Bruce is suing the Chattanooga Police Department, claiming she was unfairly singled out and ultimately discharged from her position because of her race and sex.

When the department fired her in 2019, it cited sustained allegations of insubordination and untruthfulness.

(READ MORE: Two Chattanooga police officers fired for misconduct, third resigns during disciplinary hearings)

Department spokesperson Jeremy Eames on Tuesday afternoon said the department could not comment on active litigation.

In the lawsuit filed Friday, Bruce said she was disciplined in late 2017 for accruing more than 100 hours of overtime while other officers in her department continued to work similar overtime hours without punishment.

She alleged that when she questioned why she was being treated differently from others in the homicide department, she was belittled and attacked with threats of termination. She said false accusations were made about her and her work ethic.

“Bruce was the only Black and the only female in the homicide department when her overtime was taken into question. No one’s overtime had ever been questioned, and approval had never been needed,” the lawsuit states. “The actions of the department constitute wrongful conduct and discrimination based on the plaintiff’s race and sex.”

(READ MORE: Chattanooga officer suspended without pay after disciplinary hearing)

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Cameka Bruce lawsuit

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Bruce submitted a transfer request to return to neighborhood policing, the lawsuit states. A meeting was held to discuss her overtime before that transfer was granted, and she alleged it went on for so long that it caused her to develop a migraine headache. Bruce was eventually transferred.

“No other investigators in the unit have ever been interrogated and degraded in the manner Bruce was,” the lawsuit said. “This treatment was discriminatory to her as a female and as a minority, contrary to law.”

Bruce is asking for damages for “mental and emotional injuries,” compensatory damages to cover medical expenses, punitive damages and for a six-person jury to hear her case and potentially award her more in damages.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga police officer was fired for not signing receipt, records show)

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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