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‘Passed Over Without Reason’: Retired Black Police Chief Says He Was Denied School Security Job Given to Lesser-Qualified White Men

A former Black Indiana police chief claims he was denied a school security job multiple times because he’s Black in a newly filed federal lawsuit.

Garry Hamilton claims he was passed over by lesser-qualified white candidates.

Hamilton was the former police chief in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the first African-American to hold the position. He worked at the police department for 25 years, beginning in 1994, before retiring in June 2019. The former cop believed with his background, he was ripe for a position with the Fort Wayne Community Schools as its security supervisor.

According to Hamilton’s lawsuit, he applied for the position with the school district in 2019 but did not get the job. He claims “he was passed over without ‘reason, cause, or explanation,'” WPTA reported.

He goes on to claim the school district filled the position with “caucasian individuals who were less qualified,” and one of the white men hired “was not as educated,” the report continued.

Garry Hamilton
Ret. Fort Wayne, Indiana Police Chief Garry Hamilton sues Fort Waye Community Schools, alleging racial discrimination in his not being hired for a security supervisor job he sought. (Photo: Fort Wayne Police Dept.)

Court documents revealed Hamilton knew of the white candidate and claimed he “never received a department promotion or held a supervisor’s position,” the Journal Gazette reported.

Hamilton said, “when the second of those men ultimately did not work out before even starting the job, the school district chose to begin the hiring process over instead of offering Hamilton a chance at the position,” WANE reported.

Hamilton went on to say the second white candidate “didn’t meet the minimum requirements.”

Hamilton applied for the position a third time in August 2021, when the position became vacant.

WANE reports the other candidates were Thomas Miller, 54, and Amy Shuler, 48. Miller was a reserve officer with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and Shuler was an officer with the Fort Wayne Police Department. Miller was hired for the job.  

Hamilton said of Miller’s hire, he had “no college degree,” WPTA reported.

Atlanta Black Star reached out to Fort Wayne Community Schools for comment on Hamilton’s allegations, and a spokesperson said it had “no comment.”

“It is obvious that Fort Wayne Community Schools would rather start the application process over to avoid hiring a qualified applicant that is an African-American with a college degree with over 16 years of being in management,” Hamilton said in court documents, the Journal Gazette reported.

Hamilton filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December 2021, the Journal Gazette reported. A charge of discrimination with the EEOC is a prerequisite before filing a job discrimination lawsuit.

After retiring from the Fort Wayne Police Department, Hamilton worked for the Allen County Prosecutor’s office, serving as its special crimes investigator in October 2019, WANE reported.

During Hamilton’s career in law enforcement, he worked his way up the ranks, including serving “14 years as a detective in robbery and homicide divisions,” Police 1 reported. He had only one disciplinary action, in 2005, for a vehicle accident, the report added.

During his tenure as police chief, he was credited for decreasing the city’s homicide rate from 42 in 2013 down to 14 in 2014, according to reports.

Hamilton claims he suffered “loss of income and benefits” because the school district did not hire him. He also claims he suffered “humiliation, embarrassment, and emotional distress,” WANE said of the lawsuit.

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