Orlando police officer files discrimination lawsuit

Bulletproof vest, reassignment to lower-paying positions among grievances in lawsuit

Published On: Jun 06 2013 06:09:14 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 06 2013 06:43:09 PM EDT

An Orlando police officer is suing the police department claiming she's a victim of discrimination.

In the lawsuit filed by Sgt. Rhonda Huckelbery it cites her not wearing her bullet-proof vest because of a medical condition as one of the numerous grievances with OPD.

For 17 of her 25 years at the Orlando Police Department, Huckelbery said she has been excused from wearing a bulletproof vest due to an undisclosed medical condition. In the lawsuit, Huckelbery said the vest causes her "pain and discomfort."

Though Huckleberry has requested a special accommodation she believes OPD's requirement that she turn over medical records and undergo a test of her policing skills is "part of an unrelenting pattern of harassment."

Three years ago, Huckelbery launched a controversial investigation after her husband's credit card was stolen from an Orlando fitness center that led to police shooting and injuring a suspect.

Huckelbery said shortly after the incident, she became the target of discrimination. In her lawsuit, she states she has been reassigned to unfavorable and lower-paying positions within OPD, including her current one as a supervisor at Orlando International Airport.

Huckelbery said she has been assigned "limited duties" until she's able to convince her OPD supervisors she deserves medical exemption to the rules requiring a bulletproof best.

A department spokesman could not comment on the lawsuit, which the agency says they have not yet received. Local 6 was directed to a particular bulletproof vest, which is designed for woman and created by a breast cancer survivor.

An OPD spokesman said the vests have saved thousands of police officers' lives.