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Posted at 6:26 AM ET, 07/19/2010

D.C. officers win $900,000 in race suit

By Mike McPhate

A jury has awarded $900,000 to five black police officers in the District after deciding they were punished for complaining over racial discrimination, according to a Washington Examiner report.

The officers, part of a team investigating vice crimes, complained twice about alleged discrimination in the unit in the summer of 2006, first in an anonymous letter to department heads, then in an official complaint.

The officers were branded troublemakers by the unit’s commanding officer, Lt. Ronald Wilkins, their attorneys said. Top officials responded by withholding information needed to do their jobs, such as the presence of armed suspects in their vicinity, according to court documents cited by the newspaper. Within weeks of the officers' formal complaint, all five were removed from the unit and given lesser posts.

The department plans to appeal the decision, police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump told the newspaper.

-- Mike McPhate

By Mike McPhate  | July 19, 2010; 6:26 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC  
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Comments

Racial discrimination is a majority black force?

Posted by: jckdoors | July 19, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

while it may be a majority black force, the top brass is of course white. not sure when people will learn that this will not be tolerated. until then, I guess cases will continue to be filed, found valid and be paid! Good for those 5 officers who had the nerve to stand up for what is right!!!

Posted by: kylesmom96 | July 19, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I agree with jckdoors. In the US, blacks make up 11% of the population.
In DC, hiring preference is given to residents of DC, as are DC government contracts. Want to bet the racial demographics? Let's assume were it not for Northwest DC with all the politicians and their staffers, the city might have as many as 11% whites, but I doubt it.

When I saw the headline, I thought to myself the only group of officers who could possibly win close to a million dollar gift from the city are white officers who have been denied equal employment opportunities.

How wrong was I?

Maybe it is impossible for blacks to discriminate against whites? Who knew?

Posted by: cibor | July 19, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Not that the Post clearly reported anything, but the officers won a RETALIATION claim, not a racial discrimination claim.

Posted by: PepperDr | July 19, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Racial discrimination is a majority black force?
=======================================
Of course. This country has a great system for this money-making scheme. All you have to do is scream discrimination and you can hit the jackpot with big settlements/jury awards (like these five cops did).

Posted by: checkered1 | July 19, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Are these "awards" taxable?

Posted by: cibor | July 19, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

While they are at it, they may as well check out the Fire Department's illegal practices.

Posted by: zippergyrl1 | July 19, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Instead of just focusing on the fact that the officers were black, how about we focus on the fact that other officers tried to block these officers from their jobs. THAT is not cool.

And just because most of the DC police force is black doesn't mean management is black. I've heard the complaint of racism many times from officers and fire fighters in DC. I don't know if its true but I've been hearing it for a long time.

Posted by: aburns1975 | July 19, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It's like the boy who cried wolf. The race card is played so many times and for so many reasons that it's hard for a casual bystander (like us) to judge it's legitimacy. In some cases, sexual harassment was used as retaliation from a woman or women. As soon as a woman made the assertion, the man was treated as if he was automatically guilty. I'm glad the jury gave these officers the benefit of the doubt. There's always racism regardless, the problem arises when it reaches an intolerable degree. The worst, most blatant, racism and discrimination I've seen has come from the blacks. There was a female black SES at one of the departments who stated out in the open that she would not be happy until all the managers in her directorate were black. As a result, wildly incompetent people were either hired or promoted based solely on their skin color.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | July 19, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Where are the stats that say the Metropolitan Police force is majority Black. I've lived here all my life and never known it to literally be true. compared to many other cities DC police force has a black presence but majority Black I am not positive. The higher ranks most assuredly are not majority Black. I also noticed a number of public faces on the force have changed since Fenty appointed Lanier (white woman) as police Chief compared to Ramsey (black man). Same could be said about DC' Fire department.

Posted by: whomp1 | July 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

PepperDr wrote:

"Not that the Post clearly reported anything, but the officers won a RETALIATION claim, not a racial discrimination claim."

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Exactly right. Which reminds us that if a manager retaliates against a group making a spurious charge, the manager/employer can be found culpable of retaliation, even if the underlying claim was entirely false.

This fact further underlines the pervasive and justified fear of racial grievances by black employees among managers in many fields. This widespread fear of bogus racial claims results in black employees being treated preemptively with kid gloves, and reactively with legal indulgence and quick settlement after a claim, baseless or not, more often than overt retaliation, this case notwithstanding.

On the other hand, such pervasive management fear is one reason some managers steer clear of hiring blacks at all. Unpleasant truths, all earned.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | July 19, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

How can this be a bogus lawsuit. They were retaliated against for complaining. And we're not talking about getting moved to a bad cubicle or getting assigned boring projects. We're talking about management withholding information about ARMED suspects. When these guys were retaliated against it put their life's and their jobs on the line.

Read the Washington Examiner article. It provides a lot more detail.

Posted by: komurphy | July 19, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. Seems like a lot of people are in denial of the FACT that racial discrimination occurs in this city. Probably the same people who grab their purses and wallets at the sight of a Black man, even ifhe's wearing a suti and tie, but will swear up and down that they are not racists. Well here's a news flash for you-You ARE a racist!

Posted by: PepperDr | July 19, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

This garbage has been going on a long time in the Distirct unchecked. White employees in both departments have prefrential treatment especially the ones from OUT OF STATE. Pa

Posted by: btued26 | July 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

For all of the those who are appalled that they won a discrimination suit..take a step back...a deep breath and listen to logic for a change. Yes, DC is mostly Black but a sh*t load of MD, and VA folks work in the District even the police force, fire department, gover. etc. Which means that the police force is NOT predominately Afr. Amer. like some on this post indicate. Well hell I have yet to see many Black police officers and I work right by their office. I see nothing but VA tags and white guys and women. Therefore, although you do have black officers, their supervisors are probably white. Which is how I can see how a supervisor would do something petty like not give an officer information to do their job. I bet the supervisors documented their feelings on staff evaluations. You gotta love the tricks that some white folks play.

Posted by: rebelforjustice | July 19, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

For all of the those who are appalled that they won a discrimination suit..take a step back...a deep breath and listen to logic for a change. Yes, DC is mostly Black but a sh*t load of MD, and VA folks work in the District even the police force, fire department, gover. etc. Which means that the police force is NOT predominately Afr. Amer. like some on this post indicate. Well hell I have yet to see many Black police officers and I work right by their office. I see nothing but VA tags and white guys and women. Therefore, although you do have black officers, their supervisors are probably white. Which is how I can see how a supervisor would do something petty like not give an officer information to do their job. I bet the supervisors documented their feelings on staff evaluations. You gotta love the tricks that some white folks play.

Posted by: rebelforjustice | July 19, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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