Discrimination lawsuit alleges Black man blocked from chief of police appointment due to pushback from local community
During the fall of 2019 it seemed like St. Louis County Lt. Col. Troy Doyle was to become the department’s first Black police chief. However, it all came to a stop when County Executive Sam Page started having campaign contribution issues, according to a discrimination lawsuit Doyle filed according to KSDK.
Page told Doyle he was getting “push back” concerning appointing of an Black chief of police, and he was “having difficulty pushing this across the finish line,” a phrase he used when referring to Doyle’s appointment to chief, according to the lawsuit. Capt. Mary Barton, a white woman with a lower rank was eventually selected to lead the department to appease campaign donors who allegedly didn’t want to see a Black police chief. Soon after Barton’s appointment, donations began coming from one or more large corporations or political action committees, according to the suit. Sam Page’s spokesman, Doug Moore, says the county had “no comment” concerning Doyle’s lawsuit. Doyle filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July 2020, which granted him the right to sue just last week, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Doyle’s attorney Jerome Dobson released a recording in last July of Page telling Doyle: “The board does what I tell them to do.”
Page’s administration accused the attorney of trying to extort a $3.5 million settlement out of the county. On July 24, Page’s spokesman, Doug Moore, sent Doyle a text message stating.
“Troy, I have a great deal of respect for you and am truly dumbfounded that you would do this to a man who really believes in you and fought for you. You have hurt a lot of people. Thought you were a good guy. Do you know how many times I’ve said you are a great guy with an amazing future? I’m really sad that you have treated me this way to extort money from county residents. This is not who you are. Reach deep inside yourself. This is not you. Are you also anti-gay and anti-women despite your talking points? Were you just playing with me, pretending you were cool with gays? My guess is no. You have hurt me and disappointed me. You have no idea how profoundly this hurts me.”
Page has insisted the Board of Police Commissioners selects the chief, and he doesn’t control them.
Doyle, a 28-year veteran of the police department, alleges in the lawsuit that Page invited him to his house in 2019 and told him he was “the right person for the job,” “it was the right thing to do,” and that it would be “historic,” according to the suit.