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Former Ithaca PD acting chief John Joly sues city over discrimination

John Joly, former acting chief of the Ithaca Police Department (IPD), has accused the city of fostering a discriminatory work environment.

According to records obtained by The Ithaca Voice, Joly filed a notice of claim in March, naming the City of Ithaca, Mayor Laura Lewis, five Common Council members, and the Director of Human Resources, Schelley Michell-Nunn, as defendants.

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He asserts that he was overlooked for the permanent chief’s position due to his race and claims damages for the alleged discrimination.

The dispute dates back to 2021 when Joly was promoted to Acting Chief from his position as Deputy Chief following former chief Dennis Nayor’s retirement. In December, after a lengthy search process, Joly was set to become the permanent chief. However, his appointment was withdrawn after Common Council members publicly expressed their opposition.

Joly has since taken an indefinite personal leave and confirmed that he is pursuing a lawsuit against the city.