Maryland Officers File Complaint With Justice Department Alleging Racial Discrimination in Police Department - NBC4 Washington

Tracee Wilkins and the News4 team covering where you live

Maryland Officers File Complaint With Justice Department Alleging Racial Discrimination in Police Department

Department creating panel to review internal practices

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More than 70 officers joined the complaint which alleges discrimination. Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports. (Published Friday, Feb. 3, 2017)

    What to Know

    • More than 70 officers signed the complaint alleging unfair promotional practices and unfair disciplining among white and minority officers.

    • Prince George's County Police are forming a panel to review internal practices to ensure they are fair.

    • The department’s Inspector General and a senior representative from the police union will co-chair the panel.

    Dozens of officers with a Maryland police department signed a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice alleging racial discrimination within their department.

    More than 70 officers who are members of the local chapters of the National Hispanic Law Enforcement Association and the United Black Police Officers Association signed the complaint alleging unfair promotional practices and unfair disciplining among white and minority officers. Concerns also include how minority officers and white officers interact with each other, said Bob Ross president of the Prince George's County chapter of the NAACP.

    The complaint was filed in October.

    "The Department of Justice is in receipt of correspondence from the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association about this matter," a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. "That correspondence has been referred to the Civil Rights Division for response. We have no further comment."

    The Prince George's County Police Department is forming a panel to review internal practices. Police Chief Hank Stawinski has not received the complaint but is proactively creating the panel, police sources said. The goal of the panel is ensuring fair practices.

    "The panel is a collaborative effort that has been months in the making," Assistant Chief Hector Velez said in a statement released after News4 reported the complaint on Twitter. "If the panel discovers any concerns or issues, the chief wants to know. ... The department is strong because of the men and women who make up our ranks. The Chief wants to hear from them directly."

    The panel is not being created in response to the complaint, police said.

    The department’s independent Inspector General and a representative from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89 will co-chair the panel, which will include union representatives and members of institutions outside the police department.