Continued: trial of discrimination suit against JC, Sheriff Mitch Woods

David Yates Nov. 16, 2015, 2:53pm


A discrimination claim originally brought against Jefferson County and its sheriff was set to go to trial Nov. 16 but was continued.

Alleging she’s the victim of racial discrimination, Ocie Chaisson filed a whistleblower claim against Jefferson County and Sheriff Mitch Woods on May 6, 2013, in Jefferson County District Court.

A court official told the Record the trial was continued because there were still motions that needed to be considered in the case.

Court records show Woods was non-suited by Chaisson in October.

According to the original petition, Chaisson has been employed at the Sheriff's Peace Officer and Correctional Officer Academy since July 1, 1991. Her duties include training and determining applicant admission.

In 2001, Sergeant Danny Walker, whose grandfather was a Jefferson County Commisioner in Precinct 4, and whose uncle and cousins were judges, was appointed Academy Director, although only a sergeant.

“When his uncle was running for county judge, Danny Walker was in trouble for allegedly using a county vehicle and county time for campaigning for his uncle,” the petition states.

“When his uncle won the election and was invested as county judge, Sgt. Walker was promoted by Sheriff Woods to the rank of captain, although he had never negotiated the Lieutenant’s examination.”

The suit continues by alleging Walker discriminated against black academy applicants and that voiced claims surfaced that he was altering tests results for cadets along racial lines.

“The sheriff never took any observable action against Walker for the discriminatory actions claimed against black cadets seeking admission to the department,” the suit states.

“Capt. Walker also went into business ventures using his position … for personal business advantage.”

When she initiated a grievance, Chaisson “received messages that she is to be transferred to the jail or fired.”

Chaisson is represented by attorney Larry Watts.

Case No. A194-315

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