School security official accused of firing officer because his wife was black

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A former Tennessee school officer is filing suit against the Knox County school board and Knox County government, alleging that he was fired in May 2015 because his wife is black.

In the suit, John Smelser is seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages and a “mandatory order requiring defendants to abide by the laws that prohibit race discrimination and ordering the appropriate employees involved in the acts of race discrimination to receive appropriate training.”

Smelser was reportedly involved in a domestic disturbance involving his stepdaughter’s boyfriend, but even after the charges were dropped, he received notice from the school that he was being fired.

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Smelser believes that Gus Paidousis, chief of school security, fired him because the incident revealed to Paidousis that Smelser’s wife was black.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Thereafter, the plaintiff was advised by several supervising officers employed by the defendants that Chief Paidousis had admitted to them that the reason (Smelser) was terminated was because he had a black wife and his children were black. (Smelser) alleges that he was terminated due to being married to an African-American and that he had ‘black’ children. The failure to provide a reason by the defendants for (Smelser’s) termination is a cover-up for blatant race discrimination.

You can read more about the lawsuit here.