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Gay Duluth officer withdraws EEOC complaint

In this 2011 file photo, Duluth police officer Bobby Johnson receives the Gold Medal of Valor from the Gwinnett Chamber.

In this 2011 file photo, Duluth police officer Bobby Johnson receives the Gold Medal of Valor from the Gwinnett Chamber.

DULUTH — The gay Duluth cop who alleged workplace discrimination earlier this year has withdrawn his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Det. Bobby Johnson, a decorated eight-year veteran of the Duluth Police Department, filed in February his complaint with the EEOC, alleging that Chief Randy Belcher and other colleagues made disparaging or inappropriate comments regarding his sexual orientation. According to Johnson, those comments were made in October and November of 2012.

An independent report commissioned by the city of Duluth found that Johnson’s claim against Belcher was “not supported by credible evidence,” and that Johnson was a willing participant in sexual banter at the workplace. After turning down a $21,000 settlement from the city, though, Johnson continued with his assertions — until late last month.

A letter dated Sept. 24 and signed by EEOC Atlanta District Office director Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, obtained this week by the Daily Post, said that Johnson’s complaint had been “withdrawn at the request of the Charging Party.”

“The Commission has approved this withdrawal and this terminates any further processing of this matter,” the letter said.

Ed Johnson, Duluth’s human resources manager, confirmed that Johnson was still employed by the city and said that no new settlement was made in the case.

Messages left with Johnson were not immediately returned. The EEOC, a federal agency, was closed due to the government shutdown.

Following the filing of his complaint, Johnson was on paid administrative leave for nearly five months. He returned to work in late June as a detective in the criminal investigation division.

In 2011, the Gwinnett Chamber awarded Johnson with its Gold Medal of Valor after he pulled a 10-month-old child from the window of a burning home.