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Former Georgia Police Officer Files Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination Over Dreadlocks Despite CROWN Act Protections

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Milton Myrie, a former police officer in Georgia, has filed a lawsuit against the City of South Fulton Police Department, alleging discrimination for being forced to cut his dreadlocks, grown in adherence to his Rastafarian faith, to become a police officer. Despite the existence of the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, Myrie claimed he was given an ultimatum moments before signing his contract, compelling him to choose between his religious beliefs and his career in law enforcement.

In the lawsuit filed on Sunday, Myrie, who moved from New York to Georgia in 2021 for the job, asserted that Deputy Chief Connie Rogers insisted on cutting his locs, ignoring his requests for a religious accommodation. Myrie, a member of the Rastafarian faith, wore the dreadlocks for 20 years as a symbol of his spiritual beliefs and connection to biblical wisdom.

The Rastafarian faith, which associates the use of marijuana with biblical passages, considers it a meditative aid. The lawsuit argued that the police department’s automatic disqualification for drug use contradicted the decriminalization of marijuana possession for recreational use in the City of South Fulton.

Moreover, Myrie alleged a sex-based double standard within the police department, citing instances where female officers were permitted to wear dreadlocks. The lawsuit contended that Myrie, after experiencing a chronic skin condition due to repeatedly shaving his head to comply with unclear policies, resigned from the department when he learned about the existence of a religious accommodation.

Despite the City of South Fulton adopting the CROWN Act in November 2020, Myrie’s lawsuit claims that his civil rights were violated. The CROWN Act prohibits workplace discrimination based on hairstyles, including those of cultural or protective significance. Myrie’s legal action alleges failure to accommodate his religious hairstyle, sex-based discrimination, and violations of the city’s CROWN Act.

A spokesperson for the City of South Fulton assured a commitment to investigating the allegations seriously and emphasized the city’s dedication to upholding the principles of the CROWN Act, ensuring an inclusive and non-discriminatory work environment.

Written by
Derek Chan – Editor

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