Boise Settles Sex Discrimination Lawsuit For $400,000

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The city of Boise has agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Boise police officer for $400,000.

Federal court documents filed Thursday say the city agreed to settle the lawsuit with Sierrna Berg. Berg is receiving $100,000 in lost wages and back pay, and $300,000 for emotional distress, mental anguish, injuries, court costs and attorney fees.

Berg filed the case in U.S. District Court in April 2020 after being fired in November 2019.

She contended that she was retaliated against and became the target of sexist discrimination and malicious rumors after reporting that a training officer applied a chokehold to another officer in training.

The lawsuit said Berg, 26 at the time, had a lifelong dream to be a police officer when she was hired by Boise in January 2019 as a police officer in training.

The lawsuit said she took part in the Boise police department's 20-week training academy to obtain her basic Peace Officer Standards and Training certification. The lawsuit said her peers elected her to serve as class president.

In March 2019, the lawsuit said, Berg witnessed a training officer apply a chokehold to another trainee after some type of disagreement. As class president, she reported the incident to supervisors.

The lawsuit said that instead of following police procedure and reporting the incident to the police department's internal affairs, her entire class was disciplined with pushups. The lawsuit also said the agency began to circulate rumors to defame and discredit Berg, including that she was engaged in an extramarital affair with another classmate.

The lawsuit said those unfounded rumors persisted and were used against her through phases of training, and that records were tampered with to make her look bad.

At least three others who were fired or forced to resign from the police department involved in aspects of Berg's case have also taken legal actions against the city.

A Boise Police Department spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a phone message on Saturday from The Associated Press.