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Judge rules former Northern Illinois University police chief's lawsuit can go forward

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CHICAGO — A federal judge has refused to toss a 2014 civil rights lawsuit that was filed against Northern Illinois University by its former police chief.

The 26-page ruling denying NIU motions to dismiss means Donald Grady's federal lawsuit can continue, DeKalb's Daily Chronicle reported. Grady is seeking his reinstatement and a public apology, among other things.

NIU fired Grady from his $200,000-a-year job in 2013, after he was accused of mishandling evidence in an investigation into allegations that a campus police officer sexually assaulted a student. Grady denied the accusation.

The lawsuit says Grady, who is black, was fired without a fair hearing and treated differently than white employees who were implicated in an alleged scheme to use proceeds from off-the-books scrap metal sales.

The tough-talking Grady was police chief at the 25,000-student campus in DeKalb for more than a decade, including during a deadly campus shooting on Feb. 14, 2008. Five students died, and the gunman, former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak, committed suicide.

Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled Friday that he dismissed Grady's claims against an NIU's vice president, Steven Cunningham, and its general counsel, Jerry Blakemore. But he found most other claims met minimum requirements got the suit to continue in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Grady's lawsuit also seeks back pay and damages based on an alleged loss of earning capacity.

In filings supporting motions to throw out the lawsuit, NIU said it followed proper procedures in the lead up to Grady's firing. And it said Grady "has not demonstrated that his employment was terminated because of his race."

A message left at NIU's media office on Sunday was not returned.


Information from: The Daily Chronicle, http://www.daily-chronicle.com


Information from: The Daily Chronicle, http://www.daily-chronicle.com

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