Copyright 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune
All Rights Reserved
By LISA ROSETTA
The Salt Lake TRIBUNE
PARK CITY, Utah — A former Park City Police Department reserve officer is suing the city and several individuals, including the chief of police, for allegedly discriminating against him because he is Latino.
Ciro Darelli, whose national origin is Uruguay, claims the city violated his civil rights and the 14th Amendment for failing to respond to his complaints after he was allegedly harassed by other officers, subjected to different job standards by supervisors and eventually terminated.
The lawsuit, which was originally filed in 3rd Judicial District Court in Summit County on March 30, 2006, was removed to federal court on Monday.
Darelli, who was fired March 15, 2004, is seeking to be reinstated to his former position.
His attorney, Steven B. Wall, could not be reached for comment Monday.
In a written statement, Park City Attorney Mark Harrington said, "The city takes all employment matters very seriously, particularly those involving the police department due to their contact with the public and importance to the safety of our community. The city follows all applicable federal and state rules in making these sometimes difficult decisions."
Heidi Leithead at Parr Waddoups has been hired to represent the city, he said.
Since Darelli started his field training program in November 2003 and up until his termination, the Park City Police Department engaged in unlawful employment practices, according to the lawsuit.
On Jan. 15, 2004, Darelli was notified by Brigham Young University police that his application for a police officer position would not be considered because of a negative recommendation from the Park City Police Department.
Two days later, Darelli was disciplined by Sgt. Bill Morris for requesting information about expired registration tags on a vehicle over his police radio. Other officers had made similar requests and were not disciplined, Darelli alleges.
When Darelli asked Morris why he was being treated differently, Morris allegedly said he had checked police academy records and found that Darelli was not well-liked by some of his fellow recruits.
Darelli told Morris that some of the recruits made fun of his accent and called him "Tattoo" - the name of a Latino television character - which Darelli felt was demeaning.
Morris then commented that Darelli did in fact look like "Tattoo," according to the lawsuit.
The reserve officer was disciplined yet again when he took a call from a non-English speaking citizen who requested information about property of his that had been seized a day earlier by police officers and logged as evidence in a case.
Darelli also alleges in the lawsuit that his supervisors, including Police Chief Lloyd Evans and Lt. Phil Kirk, failed to respond to his complaints of discrimination.
Fired Utah reserve officer says he was made to suffer because of his Latino heritage