Gay DC corrections officer details discrimination, threats from inmates, co-workers in lawsuit

A 24-year veteran of the D.C. Department of Corrections has filed a lawsuit against the District, the jail and a co-worker, claiming he suffered years of abuse because of his sexual orientation and the city did nothing to step in and help him.

The ACLU of D.C. filed on behalf of Sgt. Deon Jones, who identifies as a gay man, and he is alleging disability discrimination, retaliation and a severely hostile work environment.

The lawsuit contains graphic information and says Jones reported demeaning slurs, threats of physical violence, and torment from co-workers and inmates to “supervisors and to DOC and D.C. officials, including Director Quincy Booth and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, did nothing to avert the harassment, reform its pervasive anti-gay culture or protect Sgt. Jones.”

There were also multiple instances referenced in the suit that made Jones question his workplace safety, such as when a group of inmates allegedly exposed themselves to Jones and no one responded to his calls for backup.

Corrections supervisors “were not just indifferent to the discriminatory abuse directed at Sgt. Jones, but also deliberately gave him dangerous assignments, often in retaliation for his complaints against them,” the lawsuit said.

The mayor’s office did not offer comment on the suit.

“I have faced abuse from every direction: managers, co-workers, inmates. I have feared for my safety and cried out for help to the Director and Mayor but nothing was ever done. I’ve been threatened and bullied and received so much harsh treatment. All of this, because I’m gay,” Jones said in a news release.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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