Boise settles sex discrimination lawsuit for $400,000

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The city of Boise has agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Boise police officer for $400,000.

Federal court documents filed Thursday indicate the city has agreed to settle the lawsuit with Sierrna Berg. Berg is awarded $100,000 in lost wages and back wages, and $300,000 for emotional distress, mental anguish, injuries, court costs and attorneys’ fees.

Berg filed the case in U.S. District Court in April 2020 after being fired in November 2019.

She maintained that she was retaliated against and became the target of gender discrimination and malicious rumors after reporting that a training officer applied a chokehold to another training officer.

The lawsuit said Berg, 26 at the time, had always dreamed of being a police officer when she was hired by Boise in January 2019 as a police officer in training.

The lawsuit said she attended the Boise Police Department‘s 20-week training academy to obtain her basic certification in peace officer standards and training. The lawsuit said her peers elected her to serve as class president.

In March 2019, according to the lawsuit, Berg witnessed a training officer apply a chokehold to another trainee after some type of disagreement. As class president, she reported the incident to the supervisors.

The lawsuit said that instead of following police procedure and reporting the incident to the police department’s internal affairs, his entire class was disciplined with push-ups. The lawsuit also said the agency began circulating rumors to defame and discredit Berg, including that she was engaged in an extramarital affair with another classmate.

The lawsuit said these unfounded rumors persisted and were used against her throughout the training phases, and that the tapes were tampered with to make her look bad.

At least three other people who were fired or forced to resign from the police department involved in aspects of the Berg case have also filed lawsuits against the city.

A Boise Police Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a Saturday phone message from The Associated Press.

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