According to the lawsuit, the cartoon from the early 1900s was passed out during a police training class in August.
The cartoon, which depicts San Diego's first black police officer Frank McCarter, gives him an ape-like appearance and also takes a racial tone toward Asians.
Sgt. Bryan Pendleton, a leader with the National Black Police Officers Association, also attended the training session with Scott.
“I understood the context the picture was being presented," Pendleton said. "I was somewhat offended, but maybe not to the level Art was. I’m sure there were different degrees of people being offended by it."
According to Scott's attorney, Dan Gilleon, the 10-year SDPD veteran complained about the cartoon after the class and said it should be removed from training materials.
Two weeks later, Scott discussed the issue with Assistant Chief Todd Jarvis.
“At first, the chief tried to defend this cartoon – 'this is our first black officer.' Sgt. Scott says, ‘no, that’s an ape and there’s nothing right about this cartoon,'" Gilleon said. "That’s when Jarvis sits back in his chair and just stares at my client and ends the conversation. At that point, Sgt. Scott knew that he was going to face this retaliation.”
The lawsuit claims 43-year-old Scott was punished for speaking out by forcing him to transfer from the department's Southeastern to Central Division.