Prince George's County Executive Supports Panel Review of Police Department - NBC4 Washington

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Prince George's County Executive Supports Panel Review of Police Department



    Prince George's County Executive Shows Support for Police Chief

    Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins has new reaction in the midst of a discrimination complaint about the police department. (Published Friday, Feb. 10, 2017)

    What to Know

    • Complaint includes photos of black training mannequin, license plates seemingly offensive about Obama and insensitive graffiti on a locker.

    • The county executive said he supports the panel the chief created to look at internal practices and ensure fairness.

    • Up to 90 officers signed the complaint sent to DOJ alleging discrimination within the department.

    Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker supports the police chief’s panel to review the department’s internal practices to ensure fairness.

    Baker released a statement Friday, a day after Chief Hank Stawinski addressed some racially charged photos filed in a complaint about department discrimination filed with the Department of Justice.

    “I support Chief Stawinski’s formation of an outside panel to review alleged acts of racial discrimination within our police department,” Baker said in his statement. “I believe the only way to improve race relations in any organization is to acknowledge and address the issues head on.”

    One photo showed the locker of a black officer in the special operations division. The word “color” in “color guard” was crossed out and replaced with “African-American.”

    Another photo shows the face of a black man taped to a training mannequin at a police training facility. An Afro wig rests at its foot.

    Both of those incidents are under investigation, Stawinski said.

    He also addressed an internal affairs sergeant’s personal license plates that seemed to stand for “go f--- yourself Obama.” The chief said the plates were unacceptable and were dealt with last year as soon as he became aware of them.

    Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks addressed the complaint, signed by as many as 90 officers, on WAMU radio's Kojo Nnamdi Show.

    “Unfairness anywhere is a problem for all of us, and the reality is that I have confidence that it will be addressed,” she said.

    She said she has not been presented with anything criminal for her office to investigate.

    The Justice Department reviewed the complaint Wednesday, meeting with officers who filed the complaint and the leadership of the Prince George’s County branch of the NAACP. There is still no word on whether the Justice Department will officially investigate the filing.

    Last week, Stawinski announced the creation of the panel to review internal practices and ensure fairness. The panel was not created in reaction to the complaint, police said.

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

    The officers who signed the complaint are members of the local chapters of the National Hispanic Law Enforcement Association and the United Black Police Officers Association.