Medina to pay $1.7 million to fired police lieutenant

MEDINA, Wash. (AP) — The city of Medina is paying $1.7 million to a former police lieutenant whose firing was deemed to be too harsh a punishment for the racially derogatory comments he made.

Our news partners The Seattle Times report that the settlement with former Lt. Roger Skinner awards him about four years of back pay and lost benefits.

The city's Civil Service Commission initially upheld Skinner's 2006 termination, which came after he told co-workers, "Asians don't make good managers because people don't like them." The department's then-chief, Jeffrey Chen, was Asian American.

Skinner appealed, and the state Supreme Court ruled he could pursue his claim. When the case came back to the Civil Service Commission, it ruled in 2012 that there was just cause for discipline — but not for termination. It imposed a 60-day suspension, demoted him to patrol officer and awarded back pay — and this time the city appealed.

But an appeals court agreed Skinner could collect back pay, leading to the $1.7 million settlement.