Policeman called ‘fruity’ and told to tone down his ‘gayness’ gets £14.7m payout

A police sergeant who was told to tone down his 'gayness' to get a promotion has won a £14.7million payout.

Keith Wildhaber was passed over for promotion 23 times, with his superiors reportedly believing he was 'way too out there with his gayness'.

In 2014, Sgt Wildhaber, who is gay, was told to tone down his homosexuality by police commissioner board member John Saracino, it is claimed.

The policeman told a court: "It was devastating to hear."

He added that it felt like he had been 'punched in the gut', according to the BBC.

St Louis County Police Department chief, Guy Means, reportedly told one witness that Sgt Wildhaber was 'way too out there with his gayness' and called him 'fruity'.

After complaining, the sergeant was moved to the midnight shift at a police station further away from his home.

He was awarded £14.7million in damages for discrimination and being the victim of retaliation.

St Louis County Council's county executive tweeted: "Our police department must be a place where every community member and every officer is respected and treated with dignity.

"Employment decisions in the department must be made on merit and who is best for the job.

"The time for leadership changes has come and change must start at the top. We will begin with the appointment of new members to the police board, which oversees the police chief."

Mr Saracino reportedly declined to comment.

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