Latino police officer speaks out about alleged discrimination by the former Sheffield Lake chief
LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - A Latino police officer and his attorney held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss what he said was “repeated workplace harassment” incidents by his former chief at the Sheffield Lake police department.
Audali (A.J.) Torres is the second Sheffield Lake police officer to come forward about former chief Anthony Campo.
According to the complaint filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Campo constantly harassed Officer Torres about his religion and ethnicity.
Campo allegedly mocked Officer Torres for observing Lent and not eating on Fridays during Lent.
Campo also allegedly put images of Officer Torres’s face on a jar of salsa and on a priest’s body.
“It’s like getting a punch in the stomach and kind of hold your breath,” Torres said, “When I saw the pictures that were posted at the police department you stay quiet, I put my faith on line.”
Officer Torres was hired by Sheffield Lake in March 2013.
Last fall, Officer Keith Pool, who is Black, filed a discrimination charge over a surveillance video showing Campo placing a “Ku Klux Klan” sign on Pool’s jacket and putting on a makeshift KKK hat.
Torres said he knew he had to step forward when Pool made his accusations.
“The icing on the cake is when Pool’s situation came up and I said he’s not alone, he’s not alone and I had to step forward and say it wasn’t just him,” Torres said.
Pool is the only Black police officer on the force.
“I would have rather at that point for him to have hit me in my face,” Pool told 19 News last year.
19 News has learned the Ohio Civil Rights Commission is currently investigating three claims of racial and sexual harassment against the former chief, that includes the Latino officer and Officer Pool.
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