Former DC officers sue police department alleging violations of disabilities act

D.C. police cruisers are seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Several former D.C. officers with the Metropolitan Police Department have filed a lawsuit alleging it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing them to retire for mental or physical injuries they developed while on the job.

The four plaintiffs allege that the department forced them to retire early because they were unable to — or were perceived to be unable to — perform their original job duties.

The lawsuit, which names the police department, the District and D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, also alleges the department failed to make reasonable accommodations for the officers, such as reassignment, job restructuring or extended leave.

Some of the officers allege they were only weeks away from making a recovery, but were forced out of the job due to a department policy that all employees with disabilities who spend less than 172 cumulative work days in less than full-duty capacity enter into disability retirement.

“This lawsuit alleges that MPD violates the ADA by not engaging in a fair and interactive process with police officers who develop disabilities while employed by MPD and that it fails to consider the reasonable accommodation of reassignment for police officers,” said Eve Hill, a partner at the law firm Brown Goldstein & Levy, LLP in a news release. “Instead, MPD imposes a blanket rule and forces all such officers to retire early.”

In the suit, Pappas — who developed congestive heart failure while employed by the department — alleges that the department requires employees who suffered off-duty injuries or ailments to submit to improper medical examinations and inquiries.

WTOP reached out to the Metropolitan Police Department for comment, but were told that they do not comment on pending litigation.

The Washington Post detailed the stories of some of the officers in a Saturday post.

The ADA was signed into law in 1990 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.

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Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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