Two Black women sued Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday (Nov. 8) for alleged retaliation after reporting racism and misconduct of white officers, making this the third recent lawsuit against the department.
CNN reports that Felicia Carson and Lisa Burton accused the Internal Affairs Division chief of removing them from the division because of their race and gender in a work environment that gives "preferential treatment in favor of white officers."
Carson alleged in the lawsuit that she was fired from Internal Affairs to prevent her from participating in the disciplinary hearing against a white officer who she believed violated practices in 2018 by grabbing a young Black male by the throat and lying about the basis for an arrest. Authorities canceled the hearing and allowed the officer to negotiate a lesser discipline.
In the lawsuit, Burton alleged that the department retaliated against her after she reported another Internal Affairs officer for “a racist and disparaging comment” about Black men.
She filed an Equal Employment Opportunity report about the retaliation, which included division officials stripping her of certain duties, denying her training opportunities, and ostracizing her.
"The MPD is not just about a hostile work environment for police officers. They're about a culture that protects and prioritizes white male officers," CNN quoted Pamela Keith, one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuits.
According to the lawsuit, only one of the nine Black women Internal Affairs officers remained on staff three years after a new Internal Affairs chief took over in 2018.
"Most of the seasoned and experienced Black women agents were moved out by [the new Chief] either by termination, targeted harassment and retaliation, or due to being overworked and pressured for results which forced them to quit," the lawsuit stated.
In a statement, MPD denied to CNN that the department is biased against Black women on the police force. "We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly," the MPD said in response to the first and latest lawsuit.
The lawsuit asks the court for monetary damages, back pay, and reinstatement to their jobs. It also demands that the department stop discriminating against Black women and calls for a civil rights investigation.
This is the third lawsuit since September, against the department, on behalf of Black women who alleged racial and gender discrimination.
On Sept. 22, 10 current and former Black female D.C. police officers sued the District, accusing the police department of “repeated, coordinated and relentless retaliation” against Black female officers who have complained about discrimination or other police misconduct, The Washington Post reported.
That court filing prompted a second lawsuit on Oct. 19 from three Black women who are former police cadets, according to CNN. It accused the department of terminating the women in retaliation for participating in the misconduct investigation of a supervisor. The lawsuit alleges that police officials violated the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, among several other counts.