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Being Black Is Not 'Probable Cause'

OFF THE WIRE
By GLYNIS FARRELL 
HOUSTON (CN) - A constable claims Harris County fired him for objecting to orders that "any blacks in the neighborhood should be stopped and that probable cause was their race." Robert Wilson, who is black himself, says his sergeant "instructed him other officers to target any black people driving, walking or riding a bicycle in the community."
     Wilson sued Harris County in Federal Court, claiming he was fired for objecting to the illegal orders he received from his sergeant in Precinct 7.
     "Shortly after being hired in Precinct 7, plaintiff's immediate supervisor, Sergeant Peter Basralian, instructed him and others to target any black people driving, walking or riding a bicycle in the community," the complaint states. "Sergeant Basralian specifically instructed plaintiff regarding racial profiling in October 2009 indicating that any blacks in the neighborhood should be stopped. Sergeant Basralian instructed plaintiff, Deputy Young and Deputy John Siv that any blacks in the neighborhood should be stopped and that probable cause was their race. Plaintiff informed Sergeant Basralian that his instructions amounted to racial profiling and that this was not appropriate. Plaintiff reported the instructions to Lieutenant Trevino, Captain J. Phillips and Captain L. Aaron. Defendant's personnel asked for witnesses or proof of these allegations.
     "Sergeant Basralian began retaliating against plaintiff by denying plaintiff requested leave, even when previously approved. Sergeant Basralian conspired with Lieutenant Trevino against the plaintiff and created a reason for plaintiff's termination. Sergeant Basralian continued to retaliate against plaintiff when plaintiff was a reserve officer with the honor guard."
     Wilson says he was fired on Aug. 13, 2010, and two weeks later learned that he had been "dishonorably discharged," though he "had no prior disciplinary incidences."
     Wilson says he works now in Precinct 3, where he has not seen any racial profiling.
     He claims the employment practices in Precinct 7 were intentional, illegal, and malicious.
     He seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for discrimination and retaliation.
     He is represented by Marcus Stevenson. 

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