WASHINGTON: An Iranian-origin ex-police officer in the US has filed a discrimination lawsuit after being fired, alleging that his colleagues in the police department called him an "ISIS leader" and asked if he rode a goat to work.
Ramtin Sabet, who was fired last month, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he was fired after he complained that he was constantly harassed for practicing his Muslim faith.
He alleged that he was repeatedly called a terrorist by his co-workers at the North Chicago Police Department, told he was an "ISIS leader working as a police officer" and asked if he rode a goat to work, according to the lawsuit. Sabet, an Iranian immigrant, is suing the city of North Chicago and its former and current police chiefs, the Chicago Tribune reported.
He has alleged that he complained both formally and informally to his supervisors but they did nothing to deter or investigate his claims.
Sabet joined the department in 2007 and later filed two separate complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging discrimination at work.
North Chicago officials denied that harassment or discrimination against Sabet occurred.
Police Chief Richard Wilson, in a statement on Friday, said the city embraces diversity.
"Officer Sabet was terminated for violations of police department rules and regulations," he was quoted as saying.
"He has challenged that determination. The city plans to vigorously defend its decision," Wilson said. Sabet contends in the lawsuit that he was fired for complaining to the EEOC about what he called "severe and pervasive" discrimination and harassment that went on for years and included mocking of his religion, culture and food.
North Chicago officials responded in court records by saying that Sabet's performance kept him from becoming a field training officer and attending supervisor school.
"It was like I was being hazed all the time," Sabet was quoted as saying.
He said the officers, whom he considered his "brothers in blue," told him he held his gun like a "terrorist Muslim".
Sabet said they made derogatory comments about him in public and while dealing with suspects.
Sabet, who has worked as a police officer for 15 years, pulled a colleague out of a fire and assisted others when they were injured or shot on the job, he said in a statement released by the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is representing him.
"We trust our police departments to keep us safe. We trust that they have moral fortitude that they should practice within their own departments, as well as with the citizens that they serve," CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said.