A former candidate for the Baton Rouge police chief’s post sued the city-parish government and Mayor-President Kip Holden in federal court on Wednesday, alleging she was a victim of sex discrimination.
April M. Overman, now a resident of Mississippi, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge through New Orleans attorneys John-Michael Lawrence and John O. Pieksen Jr. Her case is assigned to U.S. District Judge James J. Brady.
Overman is a retired New Orleans police officer who was one of five finalists for the chief’s post in Baton Rouge in May 2011. She holds a law degree and master’s degree from Tulane University and a doctorate from the University of New Orleans. She tied for the highest test score among chief candidates in 2011 — 96 percent.
But Mayor-President Kip Holden chose Dewayne White, then the emergency services unit commander for the Louisiana State Police.
In her suit, Overman claims she was the most qualified candidate for the chief’s position and alleges that she “was asked gender-charged questions” in several interviews.
Overman also says Holden was present for some of her interviews. However, she neither specifies any alleged sexist remarks nor alleges that Holden uttered any.
“I believe I have been discriminated against based on my sex,” Overman quotes from her complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, portions of which are included in her suit. She said she received permission from the EEOC in June to file her suit.
Overman is seeking an unspecified amount of money for alleged “loss of pay, loss of benefits, great emotional, mental, psychological and physical harm, loss of income, loss of family and loss of enjoyment of life.”
Parish Attorney Mary Roper said Wednesday she could not comment on Overman’s suit.
Although White, who scored 84 percent on his written test, was named police chief by Holden in 2011,the mayor-president fired him in February for alleged violations of department policies.
Last month, Holden appointed Carl Dabadie, a veteran of more than two decades on the Baton Rouge force, as police chief.