10 black police women sue DC officers for discrimination

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Ten black policewomen filed a class action lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on Wednesday, alleging they had been discriminated against, NBC News reports.

Why is this important: The women said they were subjected to a culture of racial and gender discrimination, a hostile workplace and retaliation when they complained. They also said the problems had persisted for more than two decades under at least three police chiefs, according to the Washington Post.

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The big picture: Three of the women said they were forced out of the police department while five others are still in the force, according to NBC. One officer retired this week and another resigned last December.

  • The women said the bullying and harassment was so extreme that it was harmful to their mental and physical health, according to CNN.

  • The lawsuit also alleges that the division tasked with combating such behavior is headed by a man who has repeatedly expressed his hostility towards female officers, discredits women who come forward and refuses to transfer black women.

  • The women are demanding $ 100 million in compensatory damages and are asking the court to appoint someone to overhaul the MPD to make sure it undergoes structural change.

Between the lines: Officer Tabatha Knight said she legally recorded some of her meetings with supervisors to protect herself from false accusations, but she was investigated and threatened with a four-week suspension, according to CNN.

  • In another case, an agent said he reported that an employee of the DC government’s General Services Department knowingly caught her while taking a shower in a women’s locker room. The lawsuit said she was investigated for being the originator of the complaint, according to The Post.

What they say : “While we are unable to discuss specific allegations due to an ongoing litigation, the Metropolitan Police Department is committed to treating all members fairly and equitably across our organization,” said Police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz in a statement, according to NBC News.

  • “We have been labeled as troublemakers, angry black women, and I’m here to say that we are not angry black women,” Knight said at a press conference Wednesday. “We are tired women and no one should have to endure what we have done.”

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