NAACP requests removal of schools investigator Howard chapter notes racial incident in 1996

August 29, 1998|By Erika D. Peterman | Erika D. Peterman,SUN STAFF

Members of the Howard County branch of the NAACP have asked the school system to reassign an investigator who was accused of displaying a racially offensive cartoon two years ago while employed with the Howard County Police Department.

Stephen Drummond, a retired Howard County police captain, is one target in a protest of school policies by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. At a school board meeting Thursday night several NAACP members also criticized the school system over hiring of African-Americans.

"What we're asking for is that he be removed from that critical position," said NAACP president Jenkins Odoms. "We're not asking them to fire him."

A phone call to Drummond was not returned yesterday.

In 1996, a group of African-American police officers complained to the Howard County police chief after Drummond -- then commander of the Criminal Investigations Bureau -- allegedly showed a "Far Side" cartoon depicting a slave ship to a black detective. The ship was followed by a small boat with a single slave in it, and the caption read: "Every slave ship should have a spare."

The department's Internal Affairs Division was to investigate the allegations. Howard County police spokesman Sgt. Morris M. Carroll said yesterday he could not comment on the outcome because it was a personnel issue.

Schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan said the duties of an investigator include checking school security, investigating student disciplinary violations and making sure students live in Howard County. Caplan said Drummond was forthcoming about the cartoon incident before he was hired.

"He brought up that incident in his interview and spoke to it and addressed it very thoroughly," Caplan said. "We felt that he addressed it to our satisfaction."

At Thursday's meeting representatives of the NAACP also said the school system had routinely passed over qualified black job applicants and unfairly demoted an unnamed assistant principal to a teaching position.

Pub Date: 8/29/98

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