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City, RPD brass sued

Female officer files discrimination lawsuit
Sunday, December 4, 2022
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A Ruston police sergeant is suing the department and two of its higherups claiming sex discrimination.

Sgt. Kayla D. Loyd filed the lawsuit Oct. 26 in federal court alleging she has been passed over for promotions, harassed, put down in front of other officers and the public, made to use inferior equipment, and wasn’t afforded training opportunities equal to male officers because she is female.

Loyd also claims RPD brass retaliated against her after she asked for assistance from Mayor Ronny Walker.

The suit names the city of Ruston, police Chief Steve Rogers and Deputy Chief Henry Wood as defendants. Loyd is seeking $100,000 — half for compensatory damages, lost wages and legal fees, and half for what she calls “irreversible damage” to her career, humiliation and “the extreme and unnecessary anxiety and stress” she has endured working with Wood.

Walker refused comment on the suit, citing its active status.

Loyd is asking for a jury trial. According to court documents, Loyd filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Aug. 18, 2021. Almost a year later, on Aug. 4, 2022, the EEOC gave her permission to sue.

EEOC permission to sue clears the path for a suit to be filed in federal court.

Loyd joined RPD in 2013. In 2014 she made the department’s SWAT team. Three years later she became a digital voice stress analyst, and in 2018, a certified defense tactics instructor. Loyd is also a certified hostage negotiator.

In the suit, Loyd claims she noticed a difference in how she was treated beginning in 2015, when Wood became the SWAT team commander. She claims Wood refused to issue her the same equipment given male officers, including a better rifle.

According to the suit, Loyd went to then-Deputy Chief Gerald Jenkins who told her to write an email documenting the incident, which the suit says Loyd did.

Loyd claims Wood “harassed, belittled, and created a hostile work environment” for her multiple times during his tenure as patrol commander. The suit claims the verbal abuse has been as recent as May 26 of this year.

According to the suit, the harassment allegedly became so severe Loyd brought it to the attention of other officers and eventually talked to Rogers. She contends Rogers, too, has hindered her career and knew about times she was denied training.

She claims Rogers passed her over for appointment to RPD’s Criminal Investigative Division and instead approached five male officers, none of whom had sought or were reportedly interested in moving to the CID.

Loyd claims she was more qualified than three of the men and equally qualified with the other two. The suit says Loyd was never given a reason why she wasn’t selected.