WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A former police officer recently filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Warrensville Heights.
Nakia Jones is suing on claims of racial discrimination while on the force and on allegations of retaliation for posting an opinionated social media video about two officer-involved shootings.
Jones described in the July 2016 video her views on the death of Alton Sterling, an African-American man who was shot during a struggle with two white police officers, went viral with more than 8 million views. She also commented on a similar shooting involving a black man in Minnesota.
The lawsuit, which was filed on March 20, 2018, names Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers and Chief of Police Wesley Haynes as defendants.
(WARNING: The federal lawsuit contains profanity)
In response to the video, Jones was invited to sit in on a televised panel with then-President Barack Obama to discuss race-related issues. She says her co-workers at the Warrensville Heights Police Department became "irate" and refused to speak with her because of the TV appearance and viral video.
Jones says she also received hate mail from colleagues and a co-worker allegedly said that "she needs a bullet in the back of her head."
On May 28, 2017, Jones was involved in an automobile crash while on duty. She was granted medical leave due to her injuries until Nov. 2017. A separate evaluation in September from the city of Warrensville Heights found her fit to work and disputed her request for medical leave.
On Oct. 16, 2017, Jones was issued a warning for attending public speaking engagements while on sick leave, a violation of the city's policies, according to the lawsuit.
She was fired from the department on Oct. 20, 2017, for deceptive use of her sick leave, but Jones claims her termination was motivated by "continuous engagement in constitutionally protected speech" and "gender-based disparate treatment in the workplace."