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South Bend Police officer suing city, former chief of police

A South Bend Police officer filed a federal lawsuit against the city of South Bend and Ronald Teachman, the former Chief of Police, alleging she was discriminated against based on her sex.

The plaintiff, Joy Phillips, has been a police officer since April 19, 1999, according to the lawsuit.

She alleges in her complaint that she sought a promotion to the rank of sergeant when three positions were open. She says she was the only female who applied.

She alleges Teachman promoted three male applicants who she says has less experience and had histories of disciplinary violations.

In the suit, she alleges she has been subjected to demeaning remarks, sexual innuendo and unwanted sexual advances by fellow officers and superiors, even after she alerted superiors to the problem.

Phillips says she filed a charge of discrimination in October 2014 and was soon replaced as commander of the Interim Hostage Negotiation Team.

She also alleges when she complained she was subjected to unwanted sexual advances by a fellow officer, the fellow officer wasn't punished and she was subjected to an internal affairs investigation for defaming a fellow officer, according to the lawsuit.

Phillips is seeking damages, including back pay, front pay, reinstatement, compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorneys fees.

The city of South Bend and Ronald Teachman jointly filed a response to the complaint.

Both the city and Teachman deny the discrimination allegations.

The city and Teachman wrote in the complaint all actions taken against Phillips were for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons, according to their filed response to the complaint.

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