Memphis police liaison to gay community files lawsuit

The Memphis police officer serving as liaison to the city’s homosexual and transgender community has filed a lawsuit saying he has been the victim of discrimination based on sexual orientation, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The officer, Davin Clemons, argues in the suit that he faced discrimination, harassment and retaliation against him based on his same-sex orientation and his work as police liaison to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. He also argues he faced discrimination based on two other factors: a medical condition that stops him from achieving a clean shave, and his religion — he’s an elder in a Christian church that he helped found called Cathedral of Praise Church of Memphis.

He was named in 2014 to the liaison position, which he does in addition to his other duties.

Police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said Friday that Clemons still serves on the elite TACT unit and that she believed he was still serving as LGBTQ liaison. “We are aware of the lawsuit, however, we are unable to comment on any cases pending litigation,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Clemons had complained to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but earlier this year the organization ruled it couldn’t demonstrate violations of the law, according to a court document. Clemons had the right to file a lawsuit within 90 days of receipt of the notice, and he filed on May 12.

The suit describes many incidents that Clemons says are discriminatory. For instance, he alleges that when he got engaged to another male police officer in November 2015, a group of other officers passed around a social media video of the engagement and made fun of it.