Dated: Thursday July 22, 2021
It is with a sense of great satisfaction that we acknowledge the finalization and settlement of the federal lawsuit filed against Prince George’s County Maryland for racial discrimination, retaliation and unfair promotion practices. This lawsuit brought by officers of color has ended after a cost of nearly $18 million dollars to county taxpayers, and brought down a police chief, the internal affairs commander, and the chief administrative officer for public safety.
The settlement, approved by Federal Judge Theodore Chuang who additionally ordered a halt and massive overhaul to the police department's promotion process in April of this year, further provides for additional monitoring to ensure the department is in compliance with new mandates, as well as specific policy changes, including protection against biased policing, reforms to promotion processes and changes to how police are disciplined. The settlement also includes the allocation of approximately $2.3 million among the individual and organizational plaintiffs meant to compensate them for the past discrimination and retaliation they experienced. It should be noted that many discriminatory settlements in favor of police officers only involve a monetary value. What makes this victory such a major success is that it more importantly mandates specific policy changes within the respective police agency, something that rarely occurs. Still under investigation is a 2016 complaint filed by over 100 officers of color with the Justice Department's civil rights division.
With a long history of documented discriminatory behavior, the settlement of this case will ultimately speak volumes. With new chief of police Malik Aziz recently installed, it is hoped this will lead to positive change both for the officers and for the communities they serve. It must be recognized, however, that while this is an important step, there is still work to be done so that all will be treated with dignity and respect.
The Board of Directors and General Membership of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. congratulate the members of the United Black Police Officers Association, the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association-NCR, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the law firm of Arnold & Porter, and the ACLU of Maryland on this astounding success.
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.
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