JASPER (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The first black police chief of an East Texas city made infamous by a black man’s 1998 dragging death has settled his wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
Former Jasper Police Chief Rodney Pearson alleged racial discrimination and unlawful employment practices in his firing. His attorneys say he has settled Thursday for $831,000.
An attorney for Jasper Mayor Mike Lout denied in a statement that Pearson was fired because of his race and alleged his lawsuit was an attempt to “extort money from the citizens of Jasper.”
Pearson became chief in 2011 but was fired the next June.
Jasper was made infamous by the dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
Three white men drove Byrd to an isolated spot in Jasper County, beat him, took a logging chain, that was hooked on a pickup, and tied it to his body. The men then dragged Byrd to his death, leaving parts of his decapitated and dismembered body strewn about the roadway.
Two of the men went to death row for the killing, and another is serving life imprisonment.
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