On January 23, 2009, at about lunchtime, narcotics detectives passing through the third floor of Dallas Police Department parking garage noticed a noose attached to the bed of a department truck assigned to Senior Corporal Tony Castleberg, who is white.
"I stated, 'Oh my god, they're gonna hang us,'" a black detective, Sgt. Cynthia Parker-Ferguson, wrote in her statement to investigators reported by the Morning News. "'I can't believe this is here.'"
Castleberg couldn't either. He had recently been passed up for promotion and had filed a complaint against Sergeant Gerry Westry, a supervisor in the narcotics unit and president of the Dallas Black Police Association, alleging that it was because he was white. The noose, he told internal affairs investigators, was put in his truck retaliation for his complaint.
He filed a federal lawsuit against the city later that year, claiming that a black male and Hispanic female officer were chosen for promotion despite being less qualified. According to the lawsuit, a supervisor's hand-written note obtained in an open records request said Castleberg was passed over "because (of) lack of diversity in narcotics division."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
More than three years later the suit remains open, but possibly not for long. The City Council will consider Wednesday whether to pay $40,000 to settle Castleberg's suit.