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DOJ: How it unfolded
DOJ Pattern & Practice Investigation:How it unfoldedOver the years, HNLEA & UBPOA have met with prior administrations in order to discuss concerns of racial inequities in transfers, assignments, promotions, and discipline. Although we did not always agree on solutions, there was always a mutual resolution and the issues faced were always kept within the police department. While we have always had some racial tensions within law enforcement, those racial tensions have been polarized by events such as Ferguson Missouri, Baltimore Maryland, and Charlottesville Virginia. As a result, many in power within law enforcement see minority Law Enforcement officers quite differently. This is what I refer to as having Shades of Blue within Law Enforcement. There is no problem transferring, investigating, retaliating against, and firing the Darker Shades of Blue. And like in the 1960's, going after those non-minorities who affiliate with the Darker Shades of Blue.We originally filed a complaint with the DOJ around March 2016. After receiving additional complaints from the rank and file and being personally targeted, we filed an amended DOJ complaint in October 2016. Since January 4, 2017 we've met with the PGPD administration in order to discuss some of the concerns. Through the help of the NAACP, we requested the help from DOJ, Community Relations Service in order to try and mediate the numerous concerns that were brought to our attention and the administration. The administration refused to mediate even after I personally urged the Public Safety director to contact DOJ and take steps to mediate. Then the administration took active steps to cover and conceal the wrongdoing.Over the course of the year, the administration has chosen to send a very strong message to those involved in the issues raised. By retaliatory transfers, denial of due process during investigations, terminations, denial of promotions, vilifying accusers, as well as a variety of micro-aggressions against anyone exposing wrongdoing and racist behaviors. This administration sent a message that was loud and clear. As each incident unfolded, we passed this information to the DOJ, Civil Rights Division and the number of complainant rose. Over this same period of time, we advised the Chief of Police of the impact of his decisions on Officers, the agency, the county government, and the citizens of Prince George's County. His answer was always the same - I don't make decisions based on how they are going to look.It is worthy to note that over the past two years EEOCs filed have risen approximately six hundred percent (600%). Were you aware that under this administration we have fired more people of color than several of the past administrations combined? The last Caucasian officer fired by the county police was in May 2015 for involvement in a homicide in Charles County. Most fired in the last two years have been Black males and Black females.In conclusion, having the Department of Justice conduct a Pattern & Practice Investigation can reset the current trends. We need to remove the fox from guarding the hen house and develop a level playing field for all officers regardless of color. We need to ensure that when there is doubt, officers are confident to bring forth inquiries without fear of retaliation.Joe Perez, PresidentHispanic National Law Enforcement Association
HAPCOA, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, established in 1973, is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, county, state and federal levels.
P.O. Box 766 Cheltenham, Maryland 20623 WWW.HAPCOANCR.ORG 240-303-2092