Appeals court upholds ruling for Gale 6/18/13

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Appeals court upholds ruling for Gale

By Rupert Howell

The Fifth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the ruling denying the City of Como a new trial after former Como Police Chief Cleve Gale was awarded $50,000 after he was fired because of his race according to court documents.The suit contended that Gale, who is black, was fired because of his race by a majority white board.

The ruling filed June 13 confirms a jury’s verdict following a three-day trial which ended January 25, 2012.

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A letter from Gale’s attorney Jim Waide stated, “The Federal Court of Appeals upheld district Judge Mike Mills’ decision that the verdict was supported by substantial evidence, and upheld the jury’s award of $50,000 in damages for emotional distress.”

A motion for a new trial was denied in May of 2012 when the court order confirmed damages but offered no back pay based on findings that Gale would have been terminated shortly after he was fired when city officials found improperly stored evidence the day after he was fired.

Gale had served as Como’s police chief for 17 years and Panola County’s elected District One Constable for 26 years.