- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge has deemed the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security guilty of discrimination in the firing of a Sunni Muslim state trooper, yet has rejected the trooper’s damage claims.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell ruled in June that the agency violated the rights of De’Ossie Dingus by firing him in 2010 after the 10-year Tennessee Highway Patrol veteran was dubbed a budding terrorist without any proof, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (https://bit.ly/1D0t7od).

According to court documents, military liaison Maj. Kevin Taylor labeled Dingus a potential terrorist after a 2009 encounter in which Dingus complained about the airing of a training video on the radicalization of children.

The judge ruled that safety department officials were “all too eager to accept Maj. Taylor’s belief that because Mr. Dingus was a Muslim, he was dangerous.”

Campbell also credited testimony showing Dingus had been a target of religious discrimination from the start of his career as a Tennessee trooper in 2004. As an example, Campbell cited Dingus’ testimony that his roommates during the initial training program did not want to share a room with him because he was Muslim

Campbell did not award Dingus the roughly $300,000 he sought in damages, saying he did not file any documents support his claims of pain and suffering. Instead, Campbell opted to have the agency pay Dingus nominal damages of $1.

Department of Safety spokeswoman Dalya Qualls says the agency had no comment on the ruling.


Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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