Gay Missouri cop to finish career on 'my terms' after suit

1 month 2 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, February 13 2020 Feb 13, 2020 Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:18:00 AM CST February 13, 2020 in News
By: The Associated Press

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis County police lieutenant who was passed over for promotion 23 times said he has no plans to leave the department after he settled a discrimination lawsuit for $10.25 million.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Keith Wildhaber said Wednesday that he was happy with his new job as commander of the department’s new diversity and inclusion unit, which he was named to after jurors awarded him $20 million in October. Both sides entered into negotiation talks about the verdict, reaching a settlement this week.

“I’ve got 26 years in. I want to finish my career on my terms.”

Wildhaber, 47, said he was focused on learning how to promote diversity in the department and has no special plans for the windfall, other than to take care of family. The county agreed to pay Wildhaber $7 million within 60 days, and an additional $3.25 million by Jan. 31, 2021. After his lawyers are paid, he will clear $6.5 million.

Wildhaber said he had been out as a gay man for about half of his career. “There was a lot of time I just stayed in the closet, really for personal reasons.

“I had never even told my own family that I was gay,” he said. “My mother found out when I filed the lawsuit and it made it onto the TV. She told me ... she had woke up and she was making her coffee and she saw my picture on the TV and thought, oh my God. Something happened to him last night and they hadn’t called her yet. She said the story came on and it was a whole lot about nothing. So that was her way to tell me that she was OK ... that I was gay.”

The settlement was finalized hours after Jon Belmar announced his retirement as police chief. After the verdict, Belmar’s leadership was called into question, although County Executive Sam Page said Belmar’s retirement was not a condition of the settlement.

Wildhaber said he wishes Belmar well. He said the police force had some rebuilding to do, although not everyone in the department agreed there was a problem.

“There are some who think there weren’t any issues at all in the department, that everything was great,” he said. “And there are others … who felt marginalized.”

More News

Grid
List
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Dr. Christopher Sampson from MU Health Care about the... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - As we all know by now, the world is warming. It is simply a fact. Take a... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 7:56:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Climate
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri had a warm and wet winter which has led into a warm and wet spring. We expect... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 7:06:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Severe weather season is here and it doesn't care that a pandemic has swept the world over and... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 7:05:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - If you grew up in Missouri, you’ve been preparing for severe weather your whole life. From an early... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 7:05:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - You may use our weather forecast to plan your day’s activities, whether to jog indoors or outdoors, maybe... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 7:04:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - 2019 was a devastating year for communities along the Missouri river as river gauges crested at historic numbers... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 6:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - After the 2019 severe weather season and the recent hail storm in Jefferson City, Missouri residents were forced... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 6:03:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - As Missouri gears up for a long fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Missouri System leaders are... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 5:38:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
HOWARD COUNTY – As public safety agencies face major personal protective equipment shortages, a local dentist is making sure first... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:34:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Business is slow just about everywhere in mid-Missouri, but one local shop owner is using this time to... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:07:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Eighth grade English teacher Kelsey Roy is ready to be back with her students. Not over Zoom, but... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, real estate is considered an essential... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Schools started offering a new way for students to receive meals during extended school closures... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:21:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
CNN - The Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to the week of August 17 in the wake of... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:31:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
According to a new study from the University of Georgia, hot weather can take a toll on your mental health.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:00:51 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced they will be postponing commencement. The ceremonies were originally scheduled for May 15-17.... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 11:10:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
1am 63°
2am 62°
3am 56°
4am 55°