Former Athlete Sues University for Racial Discrimination

Published: March 14, 2010

A former member of the University of San Diego’s (USD) NCAA Tournament team has filed a federal lawsuit against the school and it campus security staff citing racial discrimination and racial profiling.

Trumaine Johnson, who is black, played for the team in the 2007-08 season, reports Sign On San Diego. Johnson claims that in late 2008, he was accused of kicking a white student’s car, and as a result, he was suspended for eight games by head coach Bill Grier for what the school said was “behavior unbecoming of a USD student-athlete.” Johnson was later exonerated because the footprint on the vehicle didn’t match his.

Johnson also cited a Feb. 8, 2009 incident where he alleges he was racially profiled by a USD security officer who tackled and pepper-sprayed him. The officer allegedly told San Diego police that Johnson had assaulted him and had been arrested, although witness stories differed from that of the officer’s, according to the lawsuit.

The student was not prosecuted.

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Johnson has also filed a lawsuit against Grier, citing that Johnson had been suspended unfairly twice and that the coach made false public statements as to why Johnson was suspended.

The student will begin school at St. Mary’s College of California in the fall.

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