Tag Archives: Md

Police officers sue Prince George’s County, Md., alleging racial discrimination

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Credit: Prince George’s County Police Department

By Lynh Bui Lynh Bui

A group of officers filed a lawsuit in federal court against Prince George’s County, alleging that the police department discriminates against black and Hispanic employees and retaliates against those who report racist or inappropriate conduct involving white officers.

Two police associations representing black and Hispanic officers and 12 current and former officers filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Maryland. They assert that the department denies officers of color promotions and disciplines them more harshly than white officers. The suit also accuses the department of unfairly transferring, demoting or firing those who complain of biased treatment, creating an environment that fosters distrust between police and the community.

“Many of our officers have witnessed abuses of people of color in our community, only to be retaliated against once they have reported the incidents,” said Joseph Perez, president of the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association. “We need to ensure that when there is doubt, officers are confident to bring forth inquiries without fear of retaliation.”

A spokeswoman for Prince George’s County police said she could not comment on the lawsuit, citing the pending litigation.

Among the complaints, the lawsuit accuses police leadership of failing to appropriately discipline white officers who have circulated text messages about bringing “back public hangings” or who have asked black officers whether they are “hungry for chicken.”

The lawsuit is the latest action in ongoing complaints by officers of color, who last year asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate their concerns.

Officials with the Justice Department would not comment Wednesday on the “existence or nonexistence” of an investigation.

Deborah Jeon, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which is backing the officers’ lawsuit, said the employment section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division is conducting the probe. Jeon said federal investigators have continued to interview officers in their review of employment practices in the Prince George’s police force.

The new county executive, Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), said she had not had a chance to review the lawsuit.

“Any allegation of discrimination, whether it be in the police department or any agency, will be taken very seriously,” she said at a news conference, adding, “We’re not afraid, should we find it necessary, to hold people accountable.”

But in her new role, she said, “I think I need an opportunity . . . to hear first what the allegations are. Not just from these officers, but to have an opportunity as well to look at the agency, to hear from others in the agency and to get a sense for what the culture is there.”

Alsobrooks was most recently state’s attorney, the county’s top prosecutor. “What I can tell you is this is an immensely successful department, and I’ve been able to work with the chief as state’s attorney. I have not had an opportunity to work with him as county executive,” she said. “I look forward to doing that, and to learning — again not just from these officers, but from others — about what the experience has been, and to analyze it fresh for myself as county executive.”

In addition to the ACLU of Maryland, the officers’ lawsuit is backed by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Officials from both organizations said racially biased employment practices in a law enforcement agency can harm the community being policed by that agency’s officers.

“Any police department that fosters a culture of racial harassment and retaliation against officers of color within its ranks can’t hope to gain the community trust and support that is so necessary for achieving better public safety for everyone,” said Dana Vickers Shelley, executive director of the ACLU of Maryland. “Officers who speak out against misconduct and racism should be praised, not punished.”

Some of the officers who say they have been unfairly targeted have complained of white officers using racial epithets to describe minority officers, according to the lawsuit, which also contends that white officers called minority communities “s—holes” or “ghettoes.”

Perez and others have called for the ouster of Prince George’s Police Chief Hank Stawinski, who is named in the lawsuit along with other public-safety leaders in the county. The lawsuit said officers have brought their concerns to the attention of Stawinski and other police leaders but have seen no action.

“Chief Stawinski has effectively condoned this behavior by failing to discipline appropriately the perpetrators, fostering an environment where racist conduct unacceptable in today’s society is allowed to persist,” the lawsuit asserts. The message is clear, the lawsuit claims: “Racist and other unprofessional behavior by White officers will be condoned, Officers of Color who complain about the conduct will be punished, and Officers of Color who engage in any infraction will be severely disciplined and/or driven from the force.”

The lawsuit seeks an independent monitor to ensure fairness of disciplinary procedures within the department. It also demands the department reinstate officers it says were wrongfully terminated, compensate them for lost wages and expunge their related disciplinary records.

Thomas Boone, president of the United Black Police Officers Association, said he was demoted to patrol recently for continually bringing his concerns to the attention of the department. Boone said he flagged disparities in performance in psychological evaluations between white applicants and applicants of color to his supervisors before one of them told him to stop and gave him a bad performance evaluation.

“We’re calling on the police department,” Boone said, “to enact fair policies and procedures.”

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Two PGCPS teens & an outsider arrested in fatal shooting of 17-year-old in Laurel, Md.

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 – Two teens associated with Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and an outside young woman based in Severn Maryland seen above, have been arrested and face charges in connection with a deadly shooting of a 17-year-old in Prince George’s County.

Kalik Johnson, 18, of Laurel; Kylah Nettleton, 18, of Severn; and Darius Tarik Johnson, 17, of Upper Marlboro, have been charged with first- and second-degree murder, according to Prince George’s County police.

The shooting happened near Contee Road and Larchdale Road in Laurel at about 8:25 p.m. on July 18. Kylah Nettleton (a Severn woman) told police she saw the two men she was with last week get into a car with a 17-year-old near Laurel, heard gunshots and then saw them emerge holding guns before driving them away, investigators wrote in charging documents.

Authorities said 17-year-old Dustin Khoury of Sparrows Point, Maryland was killed in the shooting. “During that transaction, the suspects shot the victim,” police said in a statement.

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Dustin Khoury, 17, died after being found shot in a car in Prince George’s County. The 17-year-old was shot while sitting behind the wheel of his Buick LeSabre, then drove the car a short distance before going unconscious near Larchdale Rd. and Contee Rd. at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A passenger in the car was not hurt. Khoury died at the scene.

Khoury was a rising senior at Meade High School in Severn and had aspirations to go to college, according to his father Michael Khoury, who once served as a police officer in Hyattsville.

“He was very kind and he was very motivated,” Khoury said. “He worked two jobs.”

“We’re sad and we’re devastated,” Khoury added. According WUSA 9 which broke the story.  “I saw him Monday night. We went out to dinner. I didn’t know it was going to be the last time I had supper with him. Tuesday, I get a knock at the door and they say ‘your son’s dead. Somebody killed your son.'”

Police said the suspects and victim had agreed to meet to conduct an “illegal transaction” before the shooting took place.

Johnson is being charged as an adult, and all three teens are being held without the possibility of bail, police said. There have been a rising number of crimes involving PGCPS students with some crimes not being reported in the media. More needs to be done to resolve a rising number of social conflicts in the county before crimes occur.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact police at 301-772-4925

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A PGCPS Teenage boy shot twice in Chillum, Md.

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A 16-year-old boy was shot twice Monday night in Chillum, Maryland.

According to ABC7 News reporter Kevin Lewis, after the boy was shot, he went looking for help and ended up at a Chinese takeout restaurant in a local strip mall. The man behind the restaurant counter called 911 and said the boy was shot twice in his chest near his heart and the boy repeatedly said “it hurts.”

Lewis reports the teenager was taken to an area hospital and told the man behind the restaurant counter that he was shot by two men.

Police have not released any information on suspects at this time.

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Two students injured in stabbing at Frederick Douglass High in Md.

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Scene at Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Md. (Photo: Brad Bell)

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJLA) – Two students were injured in a stabbing at a high school in Prince George’s County early Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred around 7:40 a.m. inside Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro.

Two students were engaged in a physical altercation when one of the students pulled out a knife and stabbed the other student, according to police.

One student sustained serious injuries while the student accused of pulling the knife only sustained minor injuries. Both students were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The student who pulled the knife is currently in police custody and charges are pending.

Officials said they had no information as to what sparked the fight, and the incident is under investigation.

In a Twitter message, the police said the incident “stemmed from dispute.”

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2015/06/2-students-injured-in-stabbing-at-frederick-douglass-high-in-md–114442.html#ixzz3bujHrKmv

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