An assistant chief in the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, recalled the time when she was given an ultimatum — have an abortion or be fired from the police cadet program.
Chanel Dickerson, who now serves as the assistant chief of the Youth and Family Engagement Bureau within MPD, said she was told to make a choice between her family and her job.
“When I was 18 years old as a police cadet, I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired from the MPD cadet program,” Dickerson said per WTTG. “My choice to have a baby was personal and it should’ve been mine alone and not for an employer ultimatum.”
Dickerson joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 1988. She made history with the force as one of the highest-ranking Black women within the department and is now one of Dickerson is one of 10 women suing the MPD for $100,000, alleging they faced discrimination at the hands of the department on the grounds of gender and race.
According to The New York Times, the suit, filed in federal court, accuses the city of “repeated, coordinated and relentless retaliation” against Black female officers who have complained about discrimination or other police misconduct.
Nine of the women have at least 15 years of experience, while the other officer served for five years and was once honored as police officer of the year.
“Fast forward from that time, I think about my female colleagues when I was promoted to sergeant and it was another sergeant who was promoted with me and she needed a shift that was conducive to taking care of her child as a single mother,” Dickerson said. “Unfortunately, she had to do things no woman should ever have to do to care for her child.”