State ruled against IPD officer after Human Rights complaint in December
By Matt Butler Jan 13, 2020
Ithaca Police Officer Christine Barksdale, who's at the center of the recent announcement by the City of Ithaca regarding a decade of "deeply troubling" investigatory failures in IPD's Investigations Division, filed a New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) complaint early last year alleging discrimination by the city based on gender and race. Last month, DHR ruled against Barksdale, clearing the City of Ithaca, Ithaca Police Department and Deputy Chief John Joly of workplace wrongdoing.
Barksdale was the subject of a press release last week that detailed inadequate investigations into a litany of crimes over the past several years by an investigator at IPD, later confirmed to be Barksdale. She was a highly decorated and respected officer, having joined the department in 1997 and, most publicly, received the J. Diann Sams Annual African-American History Month Recognition last February before Common Council. Sources have said around 200 cases under Barksdale are in question over the last 10 years, including about 80 cases dealing with sex crimes. The City of Ithaca also announced a batch of reforms to the department aimed at preventing a similar situation from occurring again. IPD Police Chief Dennis Nayor called the situation an "appalling failure," while Mayor Svante Myrick said he was "shocked and saddened."
The DHR complaint was originally filed by Barksdale on June 14, 2019. According to the decision, obtained by the Ithaca Times through a Freedom of Information Law request, Barksdale alleged that a higher member of IPD, Lieutenant John Joly (who has since been promoted to Deputy Chief), was racist, misogynistic and had discriminated against Barksdale, a black woman, at work, creating a hostile work environment for her inside of IPD. Joly was placed in charge of the Criminal Investigations Division, where Barksdale worked, in March 2019. A decision was rendered by DHR on Dec. 10, 2019, which found no basis for Barksdale's complaint. The decision can be read in full at the bottom of this page.
"After investigation, and following opportunity to review of related information and evidence by the named parties, the Division has determined that there is NO PROBABLE CAUSE to believe that the respondents have engaged in or are engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of," the decision said. "The investigation found no evidence to indicate that the Complainant was subject to unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex or race."
As the Ithaca Times reported last week from sources, Barksdale is the only officer for whom termination is being considered as a result of the situation, though other officers are being punished internally for their role in not reporting the inadequate investigations. Barksdale was issued a termination notice, and now must either accept the punishment or undergo arbitration. Ithaca Police Benevolent Association President Eric Doane previously told the Ithaca Times the union "will vigorously defend" its members and told CNY Central last week that the case backlog had less to do with Barksdale and more to do with the oft-claimed understaffing issues at the department. A request for follow-up comment from Doane has not yet been answered. Full article here. https://www.ithaca.com/news/ithaca/state...c238c33a08.html