Although Chester County agreed to pay Kevin Dykes $126,000 in a recent settlement agreement obtained by Delaware Valley Journal, the county and district attorney did not admit any wrongdoing.
Dykes had sought more than $150,000, claiming District Attorney Deb Ryan discriminated against him because he is Black. In a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year, he called her actions “outrageous and malicious.”
Previously Dykes, of Kennett Square, was chief of county detectives. He contended Ryan treated him differently than his White counterparts, the suit said.
A former Pennsylvania state trooper before he was hired by Chester County in 2002, he rose through the ranks under three different district attorney administrations to become the first African American chief of detectives for Chester County under former District Attorney Tom Hogan.
“When a district attorney is accused of racial discrimination, it is troubling,” Hogan said. “When a district attorney capitulates and settles a racial discrimination lawsuit, essentially giving the plaintiff what was demanded in the suit, it is telling. This entire incident is a stain on the history of the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.”
The settlement agreement stipulates neither Dykes nor county officials may discuss its terms.
In the lawsuit, Dykes claimed Ryan told him she was firing him because he was part of the previous administration. However, Ryan met with another employee who was White and allowed him to stay on to achieve “superannuation” of his pension. She did not ask Ryan where he was in the pension process or offer him a chance to stay on.
When Dykes asked to delay his termination for four days in order to not affect his county pension because he would be joining the sheriff’s office, she refused and demanded his gun, computer, and badge, the suit said.
Ryan also removed Dykes from the Chester County Law Enforcement Task Force on Race and Justice, the suit said.
Dykes’ lawyer, Dolores Troiani, said both were Democrats so party affiliation was not the issue and that other White employees who kept their jobs were Republicans. Troiani said the issue was Dykes’ race.
Dykes is a member of a “protected class” under federal law, she said. Although he could be fired, as can any employee, he “can’t be fired for the wrong reason,” she said.
Dykes, who is now chief deputy for the county sheriff’s office, took a $50,000 a year pay cut by changing jobs after Ryan fired him, Troiani said.
Under the settlement, Dykes dropped his claims against Ryan and the county. He can keep any pension he has accrued and the county will not pay his legal fees.