Duluth, GA - A Duluth police officer, who filed a complaint against the department saying he was discriminated against because he is gay, meets with city officials this afternoon.
Officer Bobby Johnson, who has been with the city since 2005, has been on paid administrative leave since filing the complaint in February. He rejected this week's offer by the city of a $21,000 settlement in the case.
“It is not about the money,” he says. “It’s standing up for what is right. It’s for not being afraid to say what’s on your mind, speak from your heart, and tell the truth.”
Johnson tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish he was the subject of derogatory comments from the police chief and other command staff which began in 2006, shortly after the department learned he was gay.
City Attorney Steve Pereira denies the allegations and says the city will vigorously fight the claim.
He says the only reason the Mayor and city council voted for the settlement is because Johnson’s attorney approached the city first.
Johnson says he’s since dismissed his attorney.
“I may never get a dime from the City of Duluth Police Department, but I can go to bed at night knowing that I did the right thing,” he says. “I stood up for myself and I hope I stood up for other gay officers that may apply there.”
Johnson, who has twice received the Medal of Valor for pulling a man from a burning car and a baby from a burning house, had hoped to retire with the city when he reaches 55.
He says he would like to return to his job, but only under different conditions.