Systemic Bias Preventing Promotions to Rank Positions in D.C. Suburb, Minority Officers Allege

Call this one Black and Hispanic Officers Matter.

Black and Hispanic police officers in the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department have had it with being stuck in place. In a letter to interim chief Hector Velez on July 13, minority officers complained of  systemic discrimination within the force, and immediately called on the department to fill empty jobs with minority officers who have already qualified for rank promotions.

The promotions sought are to sergeant, lieutenant, or captain. To qualify for promotion, officers have to take tests administered biannually. Officers who pass the written and oral exam are placed on a list of people who are eligible for a promotion in rank when positions become available.

The minority officer’s letter complained that the department leadership disproportionately promotes the white officers from that list. Per department policy, the list of eligible officers expires two months before the next exam.

This year’s test was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still positions at every rank that need to be filled, said Lawrence Holtzman, the attorney for the minority officers.

Prince George’s County is a suburb of Washington, D.C.

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