Third lawsuit filed against DC Police Department alleging racism and toxic culture – KION546
By Maya Brown and Emma Tucker, CNN
On Wednesday, two black women who worked for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC filed a lawsuit alleging they suffered retaliation for exposing racism and misconduct by white officers, the third trial in the last four months to raise questions about the work culture in the department.
Felicia Carson and Lisa Burton accused the head of the internal affairs division of forcing them out of the division because of their race and gender after complaining of “preferential treatment for white officers”.
“The MPD is not just a hostile working environment for police officers. This is a culture that protects and prioritizes white male officers, ”said Pamela Keith, one of the lawyers for the three prosecutions.
The MPD responded to the latest lawsuit and one filed by 10 women in September, telling CNN in a written statement that it is “committed to treating all members fairly and equitably” within the organization. “We take these allegations seriously and will examine them thoroughly and respond to them accordingly,” the MPD said in response to the first and last trials.
He declined to comment on the second complaint, which was filed in October.
CNN has also contacted the DC Police Union and the National Association of Government Employees union for comment on the three lawsuits, but has not received a response.
In the latest lawsuit, Carson says she referred a white MPD officer to a disciplinary review board after discovering he violated general orders by “wrongly grabbing a young black man by the throat” in 2018 and by “lying on the basis of an arrest to his superiors.”
Carson was fired for silencing her and preventing her from participating in disciplinary proceedings, according to the lawsuit, and the officer’s disciplinary hearing was called off and he was given “an opportunity to negotiate less discipline.”
The lawsuit also says Burton faced retaliation for exposing another IAD agent for “a racist and derogatory comment” about black men.
“Complainant Burton was removed from duty, her vehicle confiscated, denied training opportunities and ostracized while under investigation” after filing an equality report employment prospects expressing concerns about his salary, according to the lawsuit.
The IAD had 13 black agents, including nine black women, in 2018, when a new head of the internal affairs bureau took office, according to the lawsuit.
“Three years later, the IAD has only two black women, one of whom was transferred to the department in 2021,” the trial said. “Most of the seasoned and experienced black female officers have been dislodged by [the new Chief] either through dismissal, targeted harassment and retaliation, or through overwork and pressure to achieve results that forced them to resign.
The plaintiffs seek damages, reinstatement and wage arrears. They also want the “MPD to stop and stop discriminating against black women from DAI agents” and for an investigation to be carried out by the MPD inspector general regarding “potential violations of civil rights by MPD agents, DAI supervisors ”and others within the MPD, depending on the combination.
The second lawsuit was filed in October by three black women who are former members of the MPD cadet program, which provides law enforcement training and experience to potential police recruits. After the program, cadets typically enter the Metropolitan Police Officer Recruitment Program, although they are also likely to be fired with little recourse, the lawsuit says.
“The second case really shows how, early in their careers, cadets learn to be quiet about misconduct and bad behavior and those who speak up will be defeated and those who keep quiet will miss out. . very good, ”said Keith, the lawyer. “It’s a toxic culture, and it should be a culture that everyone rejects.”
The lawsuit alleges that the MPD is aware that front line supervisors abuse their power to “harass, isolate, intimidate, intimidate and denigrate cadets.”
He says the MPD terminated the complainants – Alice McIntosh, Anari Miller and Remani Wideman – in retaliation for participating in an ongoing investigation into the alleged misconduct of a supervisor. The women were told that their contracts would not be renewed.
The counts in the second lawsuit against the MPD include violation of the DC Whistleblower Protection Act, breach of contract, negligent supervision and wrongful dismissal in violation of public order, among others.
The three former cadets seek compensation for “their anguish, severe mental pain and suffering, damage to their reputation, damage to their current and future employment opportunities, lost wages, lost benefits and all other losses. “That amounts to no less than $ 5 million for each plaintiff, according to the lawsuit. For those still interested in a career in law enforcement, they are also seeking re-entry into the MPD as “sworn officers”. They are also calling for a zero tolerance policy to be put in place for bullying and retaliation in the MPD cadet program.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs only realized that their treatment could be part of a bigger issue than when the first lawsuit against the ministry was filed in September.
This trial on behalf of 10 black MPD policewomen alleged racial and gender discrimination, a hostile workplace and a culture of intimidation.
The women said they were treated with contempt and subjected to a male-dominated “culture of racial and gender discrimination” and “pervasive retaliation” when they complained, according to the lawsuit. Nine of the women are current and former members of the force with at least 15 years of experience. The other woman served for five years and was once honored as Police Officer of the Year, according to the costume.
The 10 women are asking for compensation and a corresponding declaratory and injunctive measure “which remedies the culture, usual practices and custom of the MPD to allow employees to abuse their power”.
Dennis Jay Kenney, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told CNN that these are all serious allegations and, if true, show a “hostile workplace and environment.” Kenney also believes that an external assessment should be carried out, in which an unaffiliated third party investigates all allegations.
“The police service must be held accountable for the reasons why they did not act and why their mechanisms did not take corrective action in all of the cases that have been described,” he said. “They should definitely be followed. My only question is whether they are based on race or gender.
Keith said she believed race played a role as it might have worked differently if they were white cadets.
“As a black woman in America your pain is ignored. And when you try to speak, you’re referred to as an angry black woman like everyone has a right to be angry when mistreated except black women, ”Keith said. “These are women who have been completely reduced to dust and that should shock everyone because we don’t know what their potential was. We don’t know what they might have been if they’d been given a good chance.
Keith said she believed it was up to DC Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser to run the police department and “understand there was a management problem.” Mayor Bowser’s office declined to comment. CNN has also reached out to the DC Council for comment but has yet to receive a response.
“The corruption in this entity is significant and serious,” Keith said. “It is an absolute application of the responsibilities of our municipal leadership. “
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