Former deputy sheriff sues state, claiming discrimination because he's gay

Former deputy sheriff sues state, claiming discrimination because he's gay
Updated: Dec. 21, 2017 at 8:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - During his 15 years in law enforcement, former deputy Sheriff Keiron Pratt claims his colleagues harassed him because he's gay.

"They all knew that I was openly gay even though I didn't talk about it so one of my partners would call me female names," Pratt said.

So he sued the Department of Public Safety.

That first case was dismissed on a technicality. He sued again and received a $35,000 settlement.

Now, he's suing for a third time, claiming retaliation by department executives, including Director Nolan Espinda.

"I want it to be known that this department violates their employees civil rights and they cover it up," he told Hawaii News Now. "It's my lifelong dream. They took that away from me."

The Department of Public Safety declined comment in the case.

"We have been advised to reserve comment until the Attorney General's office has had time to review it."

Pratt said in 2014 he was appropriately stripped of his gun when he sought treatment for addiction to pain medication.

But he says he never got it back after beating his addiction and then was re-assigned to the Paroling Authority.

Last month, Pratt got a letter advising him that he could be fired for poor performance, he said.

"Because I was calling out other deputies on their behavior, this was the reason that they wanted to job search me or try to get a reaction out of me and use that as a way to terminate me," Pratt said.

Pratt's attorney, Peter Hsieh, said the Department of Public Safety's conduct is "an outrage."

"Third time around. Third lawsuit. They don't want to learn. They don't want to change," he said.

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