Scuba officer sues New York police over race

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NEW YORK (AP) — A mixed-race police officer with painted toenails has accused fellow officers in a New York Police Department scuba unit of discriminating against him by calling him a transsexual and a descendant of slaves.

The accusations are contained in a civil lawsuit announced on Thursday by lawyers for Oscar Smith against the city and five officers.

The lawsuit alleges supervisors and officers abused Smith by expressing open disbelief a black man could pass a swimming test. It also says the NYPD unfairly denied him promotions and overtime based on his race.

It seeks millions of dollars in damages.

Court papers describe Smith as a mixed-race African-American and an avid diver and surfer. They say painting toenails is common for surfers.

The city's Law Department says it's reviewing the matter.

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