ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis Sheriff's Department employee is suing the city and the department, citing alleged racial discrimination.

John N. Castellano III filed a complaint Aug. 23 in the St. Louis Circuit Court against Vernon Betts and the city of St. Louis City/St. Louis Sheriff's Department, alleging they violated the Missouri Human Rights Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges he has suffered and will continue to suffer lost wages and employment benefits, emotional pain, embarrassment, stress and loss of personal and professional reputation. 

The plaintiff holds the Betts, who is the sheriff, and the city and department responsible because they allegedly did not promote him to the rank of a sergeant due to his race, and an African-American with fewer qualifications was promoted instead.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks damages of at least $25,000, punitive damages, promotion to the rank of a sergeant, attorney's fees, costs and any further relief as the court deems just and equitable. He is represented by Lynette M. Petruska and J.C. Pleban of Pleban & Petruska Law LLC in St. Louis.

St. Louis Circuit Court case number 1722-CC11086

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St. Louis 22nd Judicial Circuit Court
10 North Tucker Boulevard
St. Louis, MO - 63101

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