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Judge fines state DHS over toy ape on top of cubicle

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A judge has fined the Michigan Department of Human Services $21,000 after someone placed a 5-foot toy ape atop the cubicle of a black employee.

The Lansing State Journal reports (http://on.lsj.com/YBspbM ) the fine came following a 2010 discrimination lawsuit filed by Crystal Perry. Last month, Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina found there was no evidence that discrimination caused Perry to not be promoted.

Aquilina, however, ordered the department to pay $1,000 for every day the toy was left atop Perry's office cubicle in 2009 and to pay Perry's attorney fees.

Perry believes it was a racially motivated attack.

The state argued that there was no evidence race was a factor in the placement of the ape toy.  DHS spokesman David Akerly says the agency intends to appeal Aquilina's ruling.