Federal judge grants motion to look into discrimination in Prince George’s Co. police promotions

A federal judge is taking action in response to a lawsuit filed by minority members of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Judge Theodore D. Chuang granted a motion from Black and Latinx officers in the department to impose a preliminary injunction on the department’s promotions system.

The motion alleges that the existing system has “extensive and systemic racial disparities.”

The judge ordered that an independent expert review the department’s tests, skills assessments, and selection processes and recommend how to reduce or eliminate discrimination, according to court documents.

A county spokeswoman said the Prince George’s Police Department “welcomes” the independent review.

“The County and the Department are committed to ensuring that their professionally-developed promotion system continues to result in the promotion of the best qualified officers — of all races, ethnic groups, and backgrounds — who shoulder the tremendous responsibility of providing law enforcement services to the County’s more than 900,000 residents and business owners,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to WTOP.

The judge also is requiring the Prince George’s Police Department to adopt all reasonable recommendations by October.

“Any use of the 2020 competitive promotion eligibility lists generated under the existing promotion system from tests and assessments conducted in September 2020 and April 2021 shall end 60 days before the start of the October 2021 competitive promotion cycle,” the documents said.

“We have spoken out against discriminatory practices in the hiring and promotion processes since at least 2016, and are hopeful about this first step of many towards improvement,” said  Lt. Thomas Boone, president of the United Black Police Officers Association, in a statement. “The end goal will always be to create a fair and just environment for Black and Brown officers so that we can better serve our community,”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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