Deputy files racial discrimination complaint against Sheriff Watson


ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Davis has filed a discrimination and retaliation complaint against Sheriff Clovis Watson, Jr. in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

Davis previously filed charges of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) in February 2022 and received a Notice of Determination from FCHR in October and a Notice of Suit Rights from the EEOC in January 2023.

Davis was employed by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ASO) from 1999-2001, was rehired in 2004 after going to college, and currently serves as a Sergeant in the Patrol Division. Watson became Sheriff on January 5, 2021.

In the complaint, Davis describes the promotion process at ASO: eligible employees may take a promotional exam and must achieve a minimum score to be placed on the eligibility list, the top candidates are given an opportunity to interview with either the Sheriff or Undersheriff, and the Sheriff or his designee makes the final decision based on relevant experience, background, performance history, discipline history, and other job-related factors. Davis claims that since Watson took office, he and other Caucasian employees have “continuously been passed over for promotion and transfer because of their race” and that he has been third on the promotion list for lieutenant for the past 17 months. Davis states that he filed an internal complaint about racially-based discrimination in promotions at ASO but says he received no response, leading to the filing of the charges with EEOC and FCHR.

Davis provides several examples of minority candidates being “promoted, reassigned, or otherwise selected over a Caucasian candidate, with the deciding factor being race.” One example is a black male who was ranked fifth on the Sergeant’s promotional list and was selected over four non-minority candidates and given a position that is highly unusual for newly-promoted Sergeants, who are usually assigned to patrol. Another black male was named as “acting” lieutenant in spite of not being one of the top five candidates and not being eligible for promotion to lieutenant at the time. Another black male was promoted to lieutenant over eligible non-minority candidates although he was not in the top five of the lieutenant promotional list. A black female was hired in spite of a “known criminal history and numerous racially motivated social media posts.”

Davis states in the complaint that Watson requires photos to be submitted with the paperwork for promotions, transfers, and special assignments and that the photo “serves no other purpose than to confirm the race of the employee.”

Davis submitted a complaint to Human Resources in August 2022 when a black male who was eighth on the promotion list was promoted to lieutenant over him. In January 2023, two white males were promoted to lieutenant, and Davis claims that this was an act of retaliation and “an effort to conceal discriminatory intent” because both had lower test scores and less supervisory experience than Davis.

The complaint asks the court to provide relief by “mandating [Watson’s] obedience to the laws,” providing financial damages, enjoining Watson from future violations of the law, and awarding attorney’s fees and costs.

Davis is represented by Tiffany R. Cruz of Cruz Law Firm in Tallahassee.

    • It is clear Watson’s entire effort is to promote his own color and become a minority hero of the state for advancing his kind at such a high fast rate despite the knowledge, skills, ability and proven record it is supposed to get to. At least he’ll be a one-term sheriff! What a disgrace his office has been. And we voted out proven leader and steady hand for this? Oh boy!

  • If they use an exam and his results are higher, assuming other skills are proficient too, then sheriff requiring a photo is three strikes for passing on skin color.
    Here’s an idea District 1: remove race checkboxes from applications.

  • Affirmative action at it’s finest. I have experienced similar racism from black people, and much worse.

    • At least a real case of affirmative action was supposed to be used only in cases where wrongdoing or under-hiring or promotion was proven. That’s not the case here. Long term Sheriff Sadie Darnell was a fine leader and used all avenues to give everyone an equal opportunity.

  • Been happening to blacks for years once it happen to one whit boy y’all wanna make articles and sh*t

    • The slaves were emancipated with the deaths of 500,000 white Americans almost 160 years ago. The Civil Rights act was passed almost 60 years ago. How many centuries must pass before you stop whining about oppression you have never faced?

  • Sheriff Watson…. A famous racist (George Wallace) said that segregation was one of the things he was wrong about…..Can you admit it when you are wrong?

  • “that he has been third on the promotion list for lieutenant for the past 17 months.”

    Maybe it’s because you’re third at suck at your job.

    • Third on the list for 17 months is impressive. Too bad he was passed over for someone who wasn’t even eligible or someone that wasn’t even in the top five. Maybe it wouldn’t have been 17 months had Clovis not completely disregarded his own policies. What a horrible leader and example of a man.

  • This is the tip of the iceberg. For months we have heard about low staffing with deputies, in the jail and dispatch. People are are leaving without having a job lined up because they would rather have no job than work for Clovis. He and his Admin/HR staff have broken so many employment laws on so many levels. Someone needs to come in there and look at how blatantly unfair, haphazard, racist his decision are. He, alone, has created such a hostile work environment that staffing numbers are below accreditation standards, the employees are stretched thin by working so much overtime to cover bare minimum staffing holes. They’ve been trying to keep this up since he came into office because they care about the people of Alachua County. But it’s a struggle to balance being so worn down, afraid to speak out, not being supported and still try to do a good job because that’s who you are. A deputy committed suicide the other night. He may of had PTSD from his time in the military but I can’t help but think Clovis and the current environment contributed to this young man’s decision. If there were more employees, some relief, maybe this man wouldn’t have been so hopeless. God help the citizens because they are the ones that are victims of Clovis and they don’t even realize it. DeSantis needs to remove him and do some investigating and reverse illegal, unfair decisions and policy changes this man has made or I predict a lot more lawsuits. Baby Rush will have his hands full.

    • Preach it JJ. GPD and the commissioners needs to have the same attention from DeSantis. This town is so corrupt.

  • The comments 😂😂 Where was all this energy with Sadie & her antics? This is the most hilarious story in a while. Wow have things changed lol this has been the way of this stolen land for centuries.

    • Sadie Darnell was sued in a court of law, just as Clovis Watson Jr. is being sued.

      And this land wasn’t stolen. It was conquered.


    • So are u saying that all the black people before this post whom brought awareness to racial discrimination was all rats. Ur saying anyone who was discriminated against and spoke up about it was a rat?? Or is it just the white guy who spoke up about it.

    • Nobody writes in all caps anymore unless they don’t realize caps lock is stuck on or they are furiously mad and demanding. On point that Wrong is wrong. Courts, laws, and EEOC has been available for many decades to minorities that were victimized or claimed they were. The US is the Least racist country in the world. Travel abroad and see. Try Japan. Further, the US and Great Britain stopped slavery, they didn’t start it. African blacks captured their own people and caged thousands of slaves for sale on the beaches of Africa. They were Living in squandered filthy cages for someone to buy them. Great Britain eventually staged ships to block slave trade and lost hundreds of men in the process. Without African blacks hunting, capturing, and caging their own people, no slaves would have been brought here.

  • Don’t forget the only reason Clueless Clovis is sheriff is because the sinister Alachua County democratic party (led by Cynthia Chestnut at the time) conspired to get a write-in candidate who eventually pulled out and prevented anyone who was not a registered democrat from voting.

    • The only reason he won the primary was lucky timing for him, unlucky timing for the rest of us… George Floyd died and the knee-jerk libtards here had to ‘do something’ which was voting for Clovis. How about BLM? That was another mistake that a lot of people got suckered into, like voting for Clovis. Hefty Lard is another real winner for Gangsville. Nothing can ever be normal, decent, and respectable here.

  • Oh wow not what’s been happening to blacks since the first one was ever hired. How dare the black man do what the white one has always done! The proverbial pot calling the kettle black good job Clovis!

    • Yesss, it’s been happening to blacks since I can remember. The white man helping the white man first…Now it’s discrimination‼️

      • You do realize the Democratic Party is the new plantation and you are a slave to their ideology, don’t you?

    • Two wrongs don’t make a right. Did anyone teach you that? Has there not been an entire movement to grow, evolve, be fair and not judge someone based on their skin tone, sexual orientation, gender, etc.? I guess that only applies to white people. Didn’t Mrs. Obama say “when they go low, we go high”? Clovis has had ample opportunity to go high, to turn the agency into an example of diverse unity, strength and brotherhood. Like the United Nations, representing everyone. Instead he is playing the shell game with money and has created such a divisive culture. There is no unity because you never know who is going to tell Clovis you didn’t agree with him. If that happens, he finds a way to demote you or fire you. The only brotherhood is in the Black Panther party he has everyday while treating the rest of the agency with contempt. Yes, racism has happened in this country. But we cant fight and die to end it only to change who the victims are and call it justified.

  • It happens every where.
    Racial equality only applies to the white race….. African Americans are all about their own race and not other Americans… Facts

  • The eeoc is simply a means to foster government corruption, cloaked in “equality”.

  • Good for him. Clovis Watson has proven to be a narcissist, working on edifying his image on social media and taking credit for the deputies great work. He clearly is over his head in his position of Sheriff. I am sure there are many issues other than this one. Who suffers? The residents of Alachua County.

  • I seem to recall, or am I confusing another agency, US Drug Enforcement Agency kicking ASO out of federal task forces until further notice.

    Has ASO been invited back into the fold and has DEA’s actions been explained?

    Also, Mr. Peabody, have to agree with Joe.

    Clovis won the primary due to Rob Brinkman’s apparently phony candidacy which disenfranchised over 52% of Alachua Co voters; not that Sadie Darnell would be any better me thinks.

    • I don’t know that ASO got kicked out of the US DEA Task Force or if Clovis pulled out. He pulled his guys and gals out of a lot of special teams. Teams that help GPD and teams that help our neighboring counties. He is an insurgent with power that is actively defunding the police from the inside out. It will take the county years to recover from his destruction and the effects of his destruction are not completely known yet. But when you read articles of these big busts happening lately, you see everyone mentioned but ASO. Thank Clovis for that.

  • People seem to forget what Watson was before he became Sheriff. Why would a man who served as a state representative to term limits run for sheriff. You would think that Watson would want to work up to maybe senator instead of working down. At election time people overlooked the problems that he caused the city of Alachua with his poor leadership and personal choices. Along with his BS as a state representative. Everyone knew what they had with Darnell. Yes change was needed but at what expense. Watson is a professional politician not a leader and that will never change. His poor choices of leadership and command staff at Sheriff’s office will not only affect the department ranks but the entire community of Alachua County in regards to their safety. Maybe next re-election time people will look at the track record vs. the color record.

    • That’s what I said! People forgot about the trouble he got into when he was with Alachua. He lied about his degree. He and the manager of Alachua got in trouble for money stuff. He got in trouble for signing documents as Chief of Police and Manager (or something like that). He is working up to Senator or something. Needed “the first black sheriff of Alachua county” box checked for campaign purposes. Sadie drove around in a modest Prius (I think). Clovis had to get a brand new decked out Tahoe day 1. No care about spending our money. The more people that leave, the more money he has to pay for his personal stuff.

  • It’s about time a Caucasian stood up to the reverse discrimination that’s plagued that agency for a long time. Uneducated and less experienced individuals getting promoted over those with more advanced training, skills and education.

  • What cultural implications does this have for a society as a whole?

    Are these repones reflective of larger societal issues?

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