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Jury Sides With City in Discrimination Lawsuit Against SDPD

The discrimination lawsuit sought $200,000 from the city in lost wages and up to $100,000 in additional damages

A Superior Court jury found a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former San Diego Police Department (SDPD) trainee without merit and sided with the city Wednesday.

Matthew Francois claimed in his lawsuit that SDPD's decision to dismiss him in 2015, near the end of his year-long probationary period, was racially motivated and was an act of retaliation.

In his suit, he sought $200,000 from the city in lost wages and up to $100,000 in additional damages.

The jury on Wednesday sided with the city, who said Francois was terminated because he underperformed during his probationary period and resisted counseling from supervisors.

Francois' lawsuit alleged he was wrongfully terminated after he claimed San Diego residents who live north of Interstate 8 are treated differently than those who live south of the freeway.

Later in court, Francois admitted he never complained to his supervisors about discrimination, according to the San Diego City Attorney’s office.

SDPD claimed Francois was dismissed for not being a "competent, independently functioning police officer," despite completing nearly a full year of intensive training.

The city attorney's office claimed that Francois violated SDPD policy numerous times, by conducting an unsafe vehicle search with a passenger still in the car, called his co-workers vulgar names and releasing a suspect who physically assaulted a Nordstrom employee who should have been charged with felony robbery. 

An earlier version of this story stated the court awarded $51,000 in costs to the city. Costs have not been awarded but the city will be seeking its trial costs from the plaintiff.

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