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City of Pocola responds to EEOC claim by police chief

October 20, 2011

The City of Pocola filed a formal
answer in response to a lawsuit filed by
Chief of Police Dale Fout, 52, with the
Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission that claims he has been the
subject of discrimination by Gaylon
Freeman, a member of the Board of
Trustees.
According to Fout, he was harassed
because of his age and his disability.
Freeman allegedly obtained and distributed
information throughout Pocola concerning
Fout’s ailment to reflect negatively
on his performance of his duties.
The complaint states that Freeman has
told local residents of Pocola that he
intended to fire Fout and hire a younger
Chief of Police. When Fout was made
aware of the statements allegedly made
by Freeman he made a complaint against
Freeman. According to Fout this instigated
Freeman to further harass city
employees that worked with the Chief of
Police telling them they may not receive
their pay and the fault was Fout’s.
Fout further claimed that Freeman
sent a threatening letter to a dispatcher
employed at the Police Department giving
instructions in regard to part-time
dispatching and if she failed to do so she
would lose her job. Freeman allegedly
warned that if Fout tried to keep her from
getting fired if she didn’t do as he said,
then he would fire Fout also. According
to the EEOC documents filed in the complaint,
Fout's ground for discrimination
fall under age, disability and retaliation.
Attorney Betty Outhier Williams, who
is representing the city in the complaint,
filed the response on behalf of the Town
of Pocola on October 7. The response
claims that the city admits that Fout is
the Chief of Police in Pocola and works
as a head patrol officer as well as the
administrative officer for the department.
According to the response, the Town
denies all remaining statements in the
complaint made by Fout stating he has
not been disciplined, demoted or removed
and remains in the same position for
which he was hired. The Town also
denies any knowledge of Fout having an
ailment or disability.
Williams also noted that a copy of
Fout's personnel file as maintained by
the Town of Pocola was submitted with
the response to the EEOC.

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