City officers add to discrimination lawsuit

Mayor failed to implement own proposals, claim says

February 15, 2005|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

A group of city officers suing the Baltimore Police Department has added to its allegations of racial discrimination, claiming that Mayor Martin O'Malley failed to implement his own recommendations for overhauling the department's internal discipline system.

An amended lawsuit filed this month points to a 1998 report by then-Councilman O'Malley that made recommendations for curtailing racial discrimination in the department.

"None of these recommendations has been implemented by the BPD, despite clear knowledge that centralized, subjective decision-making in the discipline system has had and continues to have a disparate impact on African-Americans," the revised lawsuit states.

The additional complaints are contained in an amended lawsuit filed Feb. 3 in federal court.

Late last year, 21 African-American current and former city police officers filed the initial class action lawsuit. It accused the department of condoning a hostile workplace, blocking black officers from promotion, levying uneven discipline and retaliating against officers who spoke out against discrimination. It also alleged that racism prompted the November firing of former police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark.

The new lawsuit reduces the number of plaintiffs to 16.

A city spokeswoman said officials were reviewing the new suit. "Our position remains the same," said Raquel Guillory.

The city attorney has previously said the allegations are false and that many - even if they were true - are barred by statutes of limitations.

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