Attorneys for former Columbus Police Officer Alicia Davenport let a federal judge know Tuesday that their client wants the city's police chief to remain a defendant in the civil case because she feels he was the architect of her alleged discrimination.
Both sides in the discrimination and retaliation suit met for a pretrial conference before U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land, who told attorneys the trial is scheduled to begin in about two weeks. The suit, which alleges Davenport was put undercover without any police backup and retaliated against when she complained, is going forward on four of the initial 14 claims after Land dismissed 10 of them in a hearing last month.
On Tuesday, the judge questioned why the plaintiffs wanted Police Chief Ricky Boren to remain a defendant in his individual capacity.
"It's the satisfaction," said attorney Maxine Hardy. "She believes she's been wronged. She believes he's the architect."
Land noted that Rebecca Miller, an attorney for the city, filed an appeal of his July ruling that included Boren as a defendant in his individual capacity. If the appeals court stays that aspect of the trial, Land said he would delay the entire case from reaching trial in September.
Davenport filed her suit in 2006. Then a police officer, Davenport, who is black, claimed she didn't receive the same backup white officers received while on undercover duty with the Vice and Narcotics Division. She said she was punished with an undesirable assignment when she complained.
The former officer's sexual harassment claims were dismissed by Land and won't be heard by a jury.
Miller and attorney Gwyn Newsom, who also represents Davenport, spent much of Tuesday's hearing arguing about which potential witnesses would be called at trial and what testimony they would give. They also battled over whether Davenport was entitled to police backup while she worked undercover and whether other people working undercover had similar backup.
"There's no chance this case is going to be settled?" Land questioned near the end of the 2 1/2 hour hearing.
"No, sir," Miller answered.
The trial is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Sept. 15.