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."
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.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.