A Native American corrections officer at the Albany County Correctional Facility is accusing coworkers and supervisors at the jail of “severe” discrimination.
The allegations by Robert Hunter include acts over a period of three years, which his supervisors were aware of and frequently engaged in. Hunter claims he was the frequent target of derogatory comments and racial slurs by co-workers, particularly supervisors.
In one instance, co-workers publicly placed a poster of Native Americans in traditional dress and labeled the individuals pictured with the names of Hunter and his family. Another incident involved a surveillance video modified to depict Hunter being attacked to a “cowboys and Indians”-style theme song. The video was shown at training sessions for the facility’s staff.
“This has been traumatizing not only for me, but for my family,” Hunter said in a statement issued by Tully Rinckey, the law firm representing him. “It just became too difficult to wake up and go to work each day. I would be sick to my stomach in the morning. There’s no justification for the treatment I endured. I’m proud of my heritage.”
Hunter said he tried to resolve the issues before pursuing legal action.
“The fact that administration failed to acknowledge and resolve the issue, in light of Mr. Hunter’s repeated requests, demonstrates a complete disregard for employees and civil rights in general,” said Ariel E. Solomon, a senior associate at Tully Rinckey who is representing Hunter.