Sparks police officer's discrimination suit declared mistrial

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A mistrial was declared Friday in a federal discrimination suit against the Sparks Police Department.

U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben ordered the mistrial after the jury insisted it was hopelessly deadlocked.

Sparks Police Officer Melvin Gentry said he'll pursue a new lawsuit. He claims he was passed over for promotion to sergeant in 1997 because he is black.

Gentry's lawyer, Terri Keyser-Cooper, said less qualified officers were promoted over Gentry solely on the basis of race.

City Attorney Chet Adams denied the accusation and says Gentry was passed over because Police Chief John Dotson thought he was shy and unassertive.

Gentry finally was promoted last year. He is seeking compensation for salary and other benefits he could have received if he had been promoted two years earlier.


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