Gale v. Town of Como, MS

Cleve Gale v. Town of Como, Mississippi

U.S.D.C., Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division

Cause No. 2:09-CV-169-MPM

On January 25, 2012, a jury in the United States District Court in Oxford, Mississippi, ruled that the Town of Como fired its former police chief of twenty-five (25) years, Cleve Gale, because he is black.

The jury consisted of seven (7) white persons and one (1) black person. They awarded Gale $50,000.00 in damages for emotional distress.

Gale was fired in a 2008 vote along racial lines. Three (3) white alderman voted to fire him, and the two (2) black alderman opposed his termination. Gale testified that the newly-elected white mayor brought in private security guards to set up road blocks in the black community without discussing the issue with Chief Gale and that the new security company reported directly to the mayor, bypassing the chief of police. The Town claimed that Gale’s discharge was for performance reasons and was also related to the Town’s poor financial condition.

Attorneys for Plaintiff were Jim Waide and Rachel M. Pierce of Waide & Associates, P.A. in Tupelo, Mississippi. Attorneys for Defendant were Gary E. Friedman and W. Brett Harvey of Phelps Dunbar LLP in Jackson, Mississippi. Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills presided over the three-day trial.