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Black police officer sues North Las Vegas, alleges discrimination

Updated June 2, 2021 - 6:12 pm

A North Las Vegas police officer is suing the city, alleging he faced racial discrimination because he is Black.

The lawsuit, filed May 26 on behalf of officer Donavan McIntosh in District Court, names the city, North Las Vegas police Chief Pamela Ojeda, former Assistant Chief Clinton Ryan and Lt. Alejandro Rodriguez.

McIntosh alleges he faced discrimination by being run out of his job as a recruiter, being removed from the honor guard and being the subject of an internal investigation.

Allegations in the lawsuit are similar to those found in a 2019 complaint he filed with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, a state body that works with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on discrimination claims.

The state commission closed its case because McIntosh did not present evidence that met the legal criteria to establish discrimination. The federal commission adopted the same findings.

A North Las Vegas spokesman declined to comment on the case, citing the pending lawsuit. City Manager Ryann Juden said McIntosh’s claims were investigated and found unsubstantiated, but he declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In a letter responding to the 2019 complaint, the city said McIntosh was removed from the honor guard and recruiting office for “legitimate business purposes,” and that the investigation into his conduct was based on serious allegations.

McIntosh alleges he faced racial discrimination from Ryan starting in 2017.

The lawsuit accuses Ryan of having an apparent goal of discrediting McIntosh and having him removed from his job as recruiter because Ryan “did not want a black man in the recruiter role.” The officer who took over recruiting duties when McIntosh was put back on patrol is also a Black man.

McIntosh contends in the lawsuit, but not in his earlier complaint with the state commission, that he faced harassment that was rooted in a complaint of discrimination from 2000 that allegedly involved one of Ryan’s family members.

Attempts to reach Ryan were unsuccessful.

In its response letter to the state commission, North Las Vegas said McIntosh was removed from his job as recruiter because the department was under new leadership and a consultant had suggested restructuring the training division.

In 2019, McIntosh was removed from the honor guard in what he alleges was an act of retaliation and discrimination by Rodriguez and Ryan. The city said he was removed because he was late to one honor guard event and left another event early.

McIntosh also alleges Ojeda opened an internal affairs investigation into him, accusing him of violating policy by helping an applicant lie on a background application.

The internal affairs investigation stemmed from an accusation that McIntosh told a police recruit not to mention their participation in a burglary on application materials. Ojeda did not initiate the complaint, records show.

McIntosh contends Ojeda knew the allegation was false, but the investigation remained open, despite it being known for months that McIntosh was never actually implicated.

The incident was still under investigation at the time North Las Vegas sent the letter to the state commission in 2019.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

Mcintosh Complaint (2) by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

Position Statement Redacted by Las Vegas Review-Journal

6.04.19 NERC_EEOC Charge of Discrimination, Donavan McIntosh by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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