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Riverton’s first Northern Arapaho police officer quits, files lawsuit over racial discrimination

Riverton Police Department
Former Riverton Police Department detective Billy Whiteplume is suing the department for racial discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment.

This story is part of our new Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

Riverton’s first Northern Arapaho police officer is suing the Riverton Police Department for racial discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment. Billy Whiteplume started working as a patrol officer in 2016 and moved to the detective division in 2021.

He resigned at the end of 2022. Court documents filed on April 22 in the Wyoming District Court state that Whiteplume was “subjected to racial slurs from his supervisors and fellow subordinates and harassed about his race and race-related cultural beliefs and practices,” according to reporting from County10.

Public access to district court records are only available through computer terminals at local courthouses.

Whiteplume is seeking a jury trial, monetary compensation and judgment in his favor. He will be represented by Lander-based attorney Kate Strike of Stanbury and Strike, who was unable to speak to the media about the case.

Riverton Police Chief Eric Hurtado said he was unable to comment on pending litigation, and the secretary for the city’s Attorney General Rick Sollars told Wyoming Public Radio that he does not make comments to the media.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.
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