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Ventura County News Roundup

VENTURA : Claim Says Sheriff's Department Is Racist

April 04, 1991|CAROL WATSON

A black Sheriff's Department employee who works in the Ventura County Jail has filed a claim against the county, alleging racism in the department.

Calvin Butch Gray filed his claim March 28, about a week after 11 of the department's 15 black deputies filed claims alleging acts of racism and sexism that ranged from derogatory jokes to a death threat. The claims also allege that blacks were discriminated against in hiring, promotions, performance evaluations, salary and other personnel matters.

Gray joined the Sheriff's Department as a civilian in 1974 and applied to be a deputy in 1976 and 1977. Partway through his academy training, he was told he did not meet the academy's standards, the claim said.

He was demoted to civilian status, an action he believes was based on racial discrimination, the complaint said.

Other incidents alleged in the claim include being assigned to work at times without adequate ventilation and receiving harassing phone calls while at work.

In addition, Gray said that in December, 1989, he began finding bottles of white-out correction fluid that had been painted black. On one of the bottles, the words "black out" had been written. The next day, Gray found a toothbrush whose bristles had been painted black, he said.

The claim asks for more than $500,000.

Assistant Sheriff Richard Bryce said he had no comment about the claim. Gray could not be reached for comment.

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