from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana
JONES, HAYNES, and OLDHAM, Circuit Judges.
HAYNES, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Thomas, a former deputy in St. John the Baptist Parish,
Louisiana, appeals the district court's order granting
summary judgment on his race discrimination and retaliation
claims. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM the
district court's judgment.
an African-American man, worked as a deputy in the St. John
the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office (the
"Sheriff's Office") from July 1, 2012, to April
7, 2015. Sheriff Michael Tregre, also an African-American
man, was at all relevant times the chief law enforcement
officer of the parish.
working in the narcotics division of the Sheriff's Office
in February 2014, Thomas took part in an operation that led
to the arrest of criminal suspect Darnell Randle. Thomas
later informed Major Walter Chappel, then the commanding
officer of the narcotics division, that blood found on the
floor of the scene belonged to Randle. Thomas also told
Chappel he saw fellow officer Justin Bordelon striking
Randle. Another officer, Hardy Schexnayder, also reported
that he saw Bordelon strike Randle. Bordelon denied using
force to intentionally injure Randle. Schexnayder and Chappel
are African-American. Bordelon is Caucasian.
internal affairs division of the Sheriff's Office opened
an investigation into the Randle incident. Captain C.J.
Destor, who is Caucasian, conducted the investigation. Both
Chappel and an African-American detective named Jonathan
Rivet corroborated Thomas and Schexnayder's testimony
during the investigation, stating that they personally
observed Bordelon use force against Randle. But Randle told
Destor that Thomas and Schexnayder, not Bordelon, were the
officers who beat him.
Schexnayder, and Bordelon all took polygraph tests during the
investigation. The polygraph results indicated that Bordelon
was truthful and Schexnayder was lying. Thomas's test
results were inconclusive. Given the parties' numerous
conflicting statements, Tregre did not find that any
officer's version of events was decisive. He thus decided
not to take any disciplinary action against any of the
asserts that about a year later, the local district
attorney's office told him its attorneys were filing
motions in limine to exclude evidence from the Randle
investigation, including polygraph results, in cases
involving Thomas and Schexnayder. Tregre believed this was an
issue, so he attempted to transfer Thomas and Schexnayder in
March 2015 to positions in the corrections department, which
Tregre believed were less likely to result in
arrests. Tregre did not transfer Bordelon.
Schexnayder accepted the transfer and became a courtroom
deputy. Thomas decided to terminate his employment
immediately rather than accept a transfer.
meantime, Randle sued Tregre, Thomas, Schexnayder, and
Bordelon, alleging excessive force. The case went to trial in
December 2015. The jury found that neither Thomas nor
Schexnayder was liable.
the jury verdict, Tregre reassigned Schexnayder to an
enforcement position and gave him back pay. Thomas never
applied to resume work at the Sheriff's Office. Instead,
he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") in August 2015. Thomas asserts
that he later asked Tregre in person about reinstatement in
January 2016. Thomas's attorneys also sent a settlement
letter to Tregre in January 2016 requesting
"re-instatement at the rank of Sergeant, with a
recommendation that he be assigned to the U.S. Marshal Task
Force," (2) back pay and benefits, and (3) costs and
attorney fees. Tregre has not rehired Thomas.
going through the EEOC, Thomas filed suit against Tregre in
district court, alleging racial discrimination and
retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e. Both Thomas and Tregre moved for
summary judgment. The district court denied Thomas's
motion and granted Tregre's motion on April 12, 2018,
concluding that Thomas had failed to establish a prima facie
case of either race discrimination or retaliation. Thomas now