The City of Forest Park has settled another federal civil rights suit brought by a former employee who alleged the city had discriminated against her because she is white.
Former Director of Support Services Christine Terrell, who was in charge of personnel and who had worked for the city for almost 30 years, also alleged the city discriminated against her on the bases of age and disability.
Named defendants in the suit besides the city were Mayor Angelyne Butler, former City Manager Angela Redding, and Councilmembers Latresa Akins-Wells, Kimberly James, and Dabouze Antoine, all of whom are Black. In 2018, Butler became the city’s first elected African-American mayor, and voters also chose the city’s first African-American City Council majority.
No settlement amount was noted in online court records.
Terrell and other former longtime white city officials have alleged that they were targeted for firing because they were white. Similar federal suits that the city has settled were brought by former Police Chief Dwayne Hobbs and former Police Maj. Chris Matson.
According to Terrell’s suit, about a dozen other “white City employees, the vast majority of whom were City management personnel, and replaced them, primarily, with African-Americans. Of those persons who were terminated or forced to resign, nearly half were over the age of 40 and were also replaced by persons who were substantially younger.”
The defendants had argued that they were entitled to “Eleventh Amendment, sovereign, governmental, official, absolute, legislative, and/or qualified immunity” and that the U.S. District Court lacked jurisdiction over the matter.
On Monday, the city filed notice with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia that both sides have “completed their scheduled mediation and reached a settlement of the claims in this action. The parties are in the process of completing the settlement documents and will file a stipulation of dismissal within the next 30 days upon completion of this settlement.”
Terrell had sought electronic records from the city as evidence. The case was stayed until September 6. That night, the City Council voted to settle Terrell’s lawsuit after an executive session discussion.
During her time at Forest Park, Terrell, along with Beverly Martin and Steve Pearson, co-authored a book on the history of Forest Park under the Images of America imprint.
The case was captioned “Mary C. Terrell v. City of Forrest [sic] Park et al. U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Mark H, Cohen presided, with referral to U.S. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas.
David A. Cole of Freeman Mathis and Gary represented the city, while Edward D. Buckley of Buckley Beal represented Terrell.
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