Police and prosecutors normally stick together to watch each other’s backs. Apparently, however, that blue blood doesn’t always flow to protect black officers or their children.
The son of Allentown, Pennsylvania’s then-police chief was acquitted of pointing a gun at two Lehigh detectives after a 2014 road rage incident.
Christopher Fitzgerald, who is black, claims he was racially profiled by detectives and that his prosecution was retribution against his father– former Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
The lawsuit alleges that detectives followed Christopher Fitzgerald in an unmarked car while on their way to meet an informant because he was black, The Morning Call reports. In addition, the lawsuit claims that Lehigh District Attorney Jim Martin went ahead with the prosecution against Christopher, even though the evidence was weak, because of personal animus toward Chief Fitzgerald.
Son of Black Police Chief Arrested and Acquitted After Pulling Gun on Plain Clothes Cops Files LawsuitClick to tweet
Detectives accused Christopher of causing them to fear for their lives, but he claimed the plain clothes officers who’d been tailing him throughout Allentown caused him to fear for his life.
Christopher testified that he pulled his gun only after detectives pulled alongside his car and boxed him in, but denied ever pointing the gun, as the detectives alleged.
“It frightened me that the car stopped,” he testified. “If this man was going to approach my car, I didn’t want him to get close to my family. I wanted him to see the gun.”
After Christopher pulled the gun, detectives backed off and called for back-up. They arrested Christopher outside of a local shopping mall.
Christopher has a permit to carry the gun and was acquitted by a jury. Even though he was found not guilty, he still lost his job as a prison guard.
Joel Fitzgerald has taken a job as police chief in another state.
The lawsuit seeks $1 million dollars in damages.