ORTING, Wash. - The city of Orting has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by a former African-American police officer.
The New Tribune says Gerry Pickens sued in federal court last year seeking $5 million. His suit alleged he was the victim of racial discrimination, retaliation and defamation.
Orting Mayor Joe Pestinger said the city settled the case to avoid the higher costs of going to trial. The settlement was announced Wednesday night.
Pickens' attorney Beverly Grant said her client also wanted to put the issue behind him and avoid a lengthy, expensive trial.
Pickens was fired just days before his probation period ended in 2014. He claimed he never received an evaluation before his termination. The city said it did nothing wrong and Pickens was not treated differently.
Pickens was the first black police officer in this Pierce County city of 7,000.
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