Second Ohio Police Chief Claims Civil Rights Violation By Former Chief

For 32 years, Anthony Campo served in the police department of the 3.8-square-mile, 9,000-population Sheffield Lake, Ohio. In those eight years, he oversaw the department as head.

During his main tenure, he harassed the single Latino officer of the 14-member force, AJ Torres, for allegedly mocking his ethnicity, his faith, and sometimes the two together.

Then in 2020 the force’s first black officer, Keith Poole and Campo, resumed their efforts, affected officials said Tuesday.

Torres detailed some of those alleged incidents to reporters on Tuesday, extending charges contained in a discrimination complaint he filed against the city of Sheffield, about 25 miles west of Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie.

Campo left the department last year – some reports say he was summarily fired, and others say he retired – after being caught on video, Ku Klux on the police logo on the pool’s raincoat. Holding a paper cutout of a Klan sign, which was spread across a table. Poole, who joined the force in 2020, last filed a discrimination complaint over a June 2021 incident, in which Campo also put a cone-shaped cap on his head, paraded around and told Poole that he had to Will have to wear this on my next call. ,

Even before that, though, Campo had been mocking Torres’ Catholic Church’s Sabbath observance and his diligent observation of Lent, Torres said. Campo also publicly mocked Torres’ trips to El Salvador, where he helped raise money for groups working to reduce poverty. The chief did things like photoshopped a photo of Torres from one of his missions in a Central American country with children, adding a speech bubble implying that the officer was a pedophile.

Campos also photoshopped Torres’ face onto a bottle of Mexican hot sauce, complete with sombrero. Torres said in his complaint that these and other photos were posted on the department’s bulletin boards, which officers had to check daily and stayed there for months.

“When I come to work, I don’t give up my ethnicity and heritage, and I don’t have to hide my religion,” Torres said on Tuesday. “My faith and my humanitarian work on my personal time make me a better police officer. I am disappointed that the city I serve is not taking what former Chief Campo did to me more seriously. ,

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Campo and the City of Sheffield have since argued that he was just joking, which could have resulted in “jokes” that were “inappropriate and in bad taste”, as the city said in response to its complaint, ultimately Filed May a.

Torres’ claim “does not describe a hostile environment,” the city said in its official response, adding that Torres did not provide evidence that he was “constantly harassed” as stated in his complaint. The city also said that Torres did not claim that he suffered “any tangible adverse consequences” while working in the city.

“Furthermore, while perhaps inappropriate and in bad taste, the alleged images and comments would not be so offensive to a reasonable person that it would materially affect the terms and conditions of employment,” the city said.

Both the cops say they want to ensure that no one else goes through what they went through.

“Implementing training on appropriate workplace behavior is a clear step for the City of Lake Sheffield,” said her lawyer, Ashley Case Slavold. “But this is not enough: the city must tell the truth about its former chief and accept responsibility for the damage caused by his racist persecution. The mayor must condemn the ex-chief’s bigotry and send a letter to Officer Torres and Officer Poole. An unqualified public apology needs to be offered.”

City officials did not respond to the Greeley Tribune’ requests for comment, and neither did the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which is reviewing both complaints, as well as from a third city employee who is not a police officer.

“When I hear a joke, I know a joke,” Torres said on Tuesday. “Some are good, and some are bad. It wasn’t a joke. The only joke I see is the city’s reaction, and no one is laughing.”

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