City Denies Firing Police Officer Because Of Race

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A black Akron police officer, who was fired after he hit his wife and then lied to investigators about it, said that white officers have committed similar offenses, but weren't fired.

Former patrolman Gerald Williams is suing the city for racial discrimination. He wants to be reinstated and paid $1 million in damages.

In opening statements on Wednesday, Williams' lawyer told jurors that he'd show four examples of white officers who weren't fired for violence against their wives or inmates.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge James Williams denied the lawyer's request to show more examples of what he and Williams said is inconsistent treatment of white and black officers.

A lawyer for the city said that Williams was fired because he lied to police internal affairs investigators, not because he's black.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)