The city of D.C. has been hit with a lawsuit from ten current and former Black female D.C. police amid claims of discrimination.
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.
The department is accused of fostering an environment that degrades women, singling out Black female officers who have made complaints or drawn attention to race and gender discrimination and sexual harassment concerns.
“The days of ignoring and disbelieving women who come forward when they are mistreated are over,” said Pam Keith, an attorney representing the women said. “No one should have to endure relentless denigration, just to be able to go to work.”
The lawsuit details one example of the treatment they say they systematically faced at the department. According to the filing, a white male sergeant exposed his p-nis and urinated into a bottle while riding with a woman officer in a police vehicle. He was promoted to lieutenant and not disciplined. Officer Kia Mitchell says she was retaliated against for making a “big deal” of the occurrence.
The suit wants a complete overhaul of the department’s personnel division and a $100 million fund to compensate officers who have been harmed over the past ten years.
“We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly,” D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said in the statement.
“We were labeled as troublemakers, angry Black women, and I’m here to say that we are not angry Black women,” Plaintiff Tabatha Knight said at a press conference. “We are tired women and no one should have to endure what we did.”
Donald Tebow, another attorney representing the women, said D.C. and its police department “institutionally, and systematically discriminates against African American women employees who suffer, almost on a daily basis, a double standard,” per CNN.