The city of Lincoln and its police department were recently hit with a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and harassment.
Sara Khalil, a former police officer with the Lincoln Police Department, filed a lawsuit against the City of Lincoln over allegations of harassment and racial and gender discrimination. Before becoming a police officer, Khalil was employed by Lincoln Fire and Rescue where she also allegedly experienced discrimination and harassment.
The suit states:
“Sara spoke up about the harassment and discrimination that she and other female officers were experiencing, her situation became significantly worse. Following her complaints, Sara was targeted, subjected to unfounded internal investigations, denied special assignments and promotions, and ultimately fired.”
What type of discrimination did Khalil allegedly face, though? Well, according to Kelly Brandon, Khalil’s attorney, Khalil was involved in a handful of discriminatory situations, including “an incident of excessive force involving another officer in 2014, where Khalil claims she was harassed after cooperating with an Internal Affairs investigation.” The suit further alleges that “following her participation in that investigation, she heard officers say she better not need backup on a call.” As a result, Khalil became “scared to go on calls and have panic attacks at work and when she reported this behavior, nothing was done to protect her.”
On top of that, the lawsuit details other allegations that claimed she was denied promotions and special assignments, “including a position on the SWAT team and traffic unit.” Additionally, Khalil was allegedly “denied the position on the traffic unit because the captain said the motorcycles were too big and heavy for Khalil, despite the fact she had been a motorcycle rider for years.”
Despite filing complaints about the discriminatory treatment, nothing was done to remedy the situation. Instead, she “faced retaliation and harassment including being told she was only selected for a specialized position because she was a person of color, that her baby looked ‘very white,’ and that she can’t be trusted because she’s a woman of color.”
As if those allegations aren’t bad enough, Khalil claims an investigator was allegedly hired by the city and “followed her while she was on medical leave for a work-related injury in 2021 and captured video of her teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, which eventually led to her firing in February of 2022.”
When commenting on Khalil’s termination from the police department, Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins issued the following statement on social media:
“I made the difficult decision to terminate an employee who had been employed as a police officer after the city’s Risk Management brought to my attention that an investigation they conducted showed the officer had provided false information in a worker’s compensation claim and the representations of an on-duty injury, in violation of department policy and Nebraska law. This investigation was not initiated at the request of the police department nor with our knowledge. After becoming aware of that investigation, a review of the evidence it contained led me to the same conclusion that Risk Management had reached. Law enforcement is rightly held to high ethical standards and my decision to terminate this employee was based on my conclusion the officer had seriously violated those standards.”