A group of former and current Black women officers filed a class action lawsuit against the Washington, DC police on Wednesday claiming racial and sexual discrimination, a hostile workplace and a culture of intimidation.
The 10 women say that while on the job at the Metropolitan Police Department they were subjected to a male-dominated “culture of race and sex discrimination” and “intense pervasive retaliation” when they complained about it. All but one of the women are current and former members of the force with at least 15 years of experience, according to the lawsuit. A current assistant police chief, lieutenant and sergeant are among the plaintiffs.
“They come together as a class here to describe how the MPD has, for decades, treated Black women police officers with contempt, to the point of systematic psychological abuse,” the lawsuit states. “As is often the case, the abuse is often not visible by looking at one person, or one incident.”
The women are seeking $100 million in compensatory damages and request a special master to be appointed to overhaul the department’s personnel practices and the Equal Employment Opportunity division, which handles internal complaints about unfair or discriminatory treatment.
“This lawsuit seeks to ensure that these MPD practices are eradicated for current and future Black women police officers, and to obtain full redress for the Class Representative Plaintiffs and the class members who have been harmed by MPD’s consistent, system-wide pattern, practice and custom of race and gender discrimination and retaliation,” the lawsuit states.
Dustin Sternbeck, the director of communications for the Metropolitan Police Department, said “while we cannot discuss the specific allegations due to pending litigation, the Metropolitan Police Department is committed to treating all members fairly and equitably throughout our organization. We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly.”
A spokesperson for the office of DC Attorney General Karl Racine says they haven’t been served with this lawsuit yet and cannot comment.
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