City police EEOC director upholds bias complaint

Black homicide detective accused white supervisor of discrimination

June 25, 2008|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun Reporter

Allegations of discrimination leveled by a black city homicide supervisor against several of his white colleagues were upheld by the Police Department's equal employment opportunity commission director, Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said at an NAACP meeting last night.

"There is a preliminary report from our EEOC director which has a sustained finding against a few of the officers involved," Bealefeld said after Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham Sr., president of the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, requested an update on the case.

Bealefeld said the next step would be a trial board, an internal review process where a complaint is evaluated by other police officers. Punishment is also recommended at that phase. "We've concluded the investigative phase, and we're moving on the adjudication phase," Bealefeld said.

The commissioner declined to name the detectives involved or elaborate further when a reporter inquired after the meeting.

In February, Sgt. Kelvin Sewell filed a 16-count EEOC complaint alleging that his boss, Lt. James Hagin, who is white, ordered Sewell to view Ku Klux Klan videos for an hour.

Sterling Clifford, city Police Department spokesman, would not say which counts were sustained.

The complaint says two other detectives "teamed up" and "directed constant complaints" against Sewell and his men. But the complaint does not spell out how that behavior was discriminatory.

The department investigated the complaint, including searching Hagin's work computer. Hagin was transferred to supervise detectives in the Northern District after the complaint became public. Four other homicide detectives also were transferred.

In the complaint, Sewell also said that he was ribbed by Hagin about owning a 40-foot boat and asking for overtime. Hagin asked about "me living in a big house, what type of vehicles I drive, and my time share information," Sewell wrote.

Last year, Sewell made a base salary of $70,000, and then earned $77,000 in overtime, making him the sixth-highest-paid officer in the Police Department and the 11th most highly paid city official, according to city records.

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