Aubrey Gregory is suing his department after being demoted for using the N-word, claiming he is being discriminated against. The former Louisville Metro Police major alleges that two Black people also used the offensive term during a training session and weren’t subjected to the same reprimand.
Gregory, who is white and has since retired after being shot during a protest, was bumped down from major to lieutenant last June after LMPD Chief Erika Shields told Louisville Metro Council members he used the N-word during training in an attempt to make a teaching point that “just went totally south,” according to WDRB.
In documents obtained by the outlet, Gregory, who became the director of LMPD’s Training Academy in March, walked in on a conversation between two Black men “regarding the use of a racial epithet” during a recruiting class on “isms,” such as racism, sexism, implicit bias and cultural diversity in May 2021.
“One of the individuals was from Africa, and the other was a retired firefighter,” the lawsuit states. “The individual who had immigrated from Africa stated that, when he immigrated to the United States, he had been warned not to use the word because it was offensive.”
The man explained that in his native home, the term was not deemed offensive because it meant Black. That’s when the retired firefighter involved in the discussion said the word had multiple meanings in the U.S. “This individual stated to the class that they had better be prepared because they were going to hear this word in certain communities in Metro,” the lawsuit stated. That’s when he allegedly said Gregory “has worked some of these neighborhoods for years; he can tell you.”
However, Georgy and his lawyer maintained he only repeated the word as part of the conversation and proved that the derogatory term could have various meanings. “Yes, you are going to hear [the racial epithet] out there. Sometimes it does mean family or like a kinship of shared struggle, and sometimes it is the most derogatory, disgusting word you will hear. Still, you are going to hear it,” the former LMPD employee stated in the suit.
The man says he was advised to retire after speaking to several colleagues. However, no one believed the Plaintiff (Gregory) was trying to be derogatory.” A representative for Louisville Metro Government Human Resources later interviewed Gregory. They said his version of what happened “matched what other people she interviewed had stated.”
Still, he was demoted and claimed the other men were never punished. So now Gregory is suing LMPD, Shields, and Mayor Greg Fischer, according to WHAS11. The former training division major is seeking a trial by jury, restoration of his rank, and damages for “loss of income, embarrassment, humiliation, and mental anguish.”
In a statement at a July council committee hearing, Shields said, “I have an expectation on how they conduct themselves. I’m trying to drive this department forward, and there are certain things I cannot have commanders doing, and this is one of them.”