Ithaca, N.Y. — A federal jury found Friday that the city of Ithaca retaliated against former police Officer Christopher Miller.

Ithaca Is Bluegrass Jan. 23-25

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It also found that Lt. Marlon Byrd, who is black, did not retaliate against Officer Miller, who is white. Miller alleged that he was treated unfairly and discriminated against by the police department on the basis of his race.

See related: Federal trial begins over former Ithaca cop’s claims (again)

The ruling amounts to a setback to the city, which has fought Miller’s lawsuit tooth-and-nail since it was filed in 2010. In 2012, a different federal jury awarded Miller $2 million in the case — a decision later tossed by a judge.

And the long-running legal saga is still not over.

Mayor Svante Myrick vowed in a statement on Friday that that city would “strenuously” fight the ruling.

Here’s his statement, in full:

Today, a federal jury returned a verdict, on the first phase of a two-phase trial, finding–as the City has long maintained–that Lt. Marlon Byrd did not engage in retaliatory wrongdoing in the previous assignment of former IPD Officer Christopher Miller to a walking beat on the Ithaca Commons. 

Nonetheless, in a legally-flawed misstep, that same jury concluded that the City of Ithaca had engaged in that very same retaliatory wrongdoing. 

Because the City can only act through its employees, and because neither the jury nor the judge identified any employees who had so retaliated, this verdict against the City is – literally – a legal impossibility, and one the City will strenuously seek remedied in the coming weeks. 


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.