Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office repairman sues after chief deputy allegedly verbally abused him, used racial expletives in parking dispute

By Brandon Caples | Jun 9, 2015

NEW ORLEANS – An Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit claiming a top sheriff’s deputies verbally assaulted him and violated his civil rights.

Ronald C. Coleman Sr. filed lawsuit against Orleans Parish Sheriff Office, Sheriff of Orleans Parish Marlin Gusman, Director of Facilities Management Robert Martin and Deputy Chief Jerry Ursin in the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana on May 22.

According to court records, the plaintiff claims that Deputy Chief Jerry Ursin used a racial expletive and called him “ungrateful” and “stupid”.  The plaintiff later claimed that the defendant threatened him by saying that “you will pay for this.”

On Aug. 4, 2014, Coleman, an engineer plant control worker was attending to a hot water complaint at an Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office property and that after checking the air condition unit on the roof he needed to check the units inside of the building. The plaintiff claims he parked his Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office vehicle in the parking lot to unload an 18-foot ladder and other equipment he needed to check the air conditioning units. When Coleman returned to his work vehicle he noticed a hostile Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Officer, Ursin.

Ursin allegedly approached Coleman and asked “do you know that you are blocking my parking.” Coleman claims he immediately attempted to explain the situation, but that Ursin was too upset to listen and said, “You are ungrateful, selfish, and just plain stupid.” The plaintiff also claims Ursin pointed out a no parking sign to Coleman and used an expletive.

Coleman claims he offered an apology and that Ursin wanted to know his name to Coleman alleges he complied and gave Ursin his name as well as his employee identification number. Although, the plaintiff purports to have complied with the orders he was given, he further alleges that did not stop Ursin from further verbally assaulting him.

The plaintiff alleges he moved the maintenance vehicle and returned to the facility to finish his job, but that he was unable to complete his job due to the unwarranted verbal assault and civil rights violation by Ursin.

Coleman filed a case with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but the case was later closed.

According to the EEOC, “based upon its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes.”

Despite his case was being closed by the EEOC, Coleman filed a lawsuit on his own on May 22, 2015.

Coleman claims the defendant’s actions caused to suffer substantial economic and non-economic damages and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages is sought for permanent harm to his professional and personal reputation, severe mental anguish and emotional distress.

Currently, both Coleman and Ursin are still purportedly employed by the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“I haven’t received any backlash from my job since I filed the suit,” Coleman said.

A representative from the Public Relations Department at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office had no comment on the case between Coleman and Ursin.

The plaintiff is representing himself pro se.

The case had been assigned to Section B Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-01757-ILRL-KWR

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