Four former employees of the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office have sued the previous holder of the office and the city in federal court, claiming racial discrimination.
Dorothy Byrd, Edward Chew, Patricia Bryant, and Wanda Doreen Davis claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Barbara Deeley, acting sheriff until January, demoted or fired them because they are African American.
Deeley, who is white, called the claims baseless and said she was not aware of the litigation, though she did know about related claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"Discrimination? That is ridiculous," Deeley said. She declined to comment further.
Mark McDonald, a spokesman for the city, also declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing pending litigation.