Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Prince George’s Paid $6.3M to Fight Police Dept. Suit: Report

Police training in Prince George’s County has been “deficient” when it comes to addressing hostile work environments, with no outline for supervisors to address racial discrimination, and ignores state law protections such as accommodations for employees who are pregnant, according to a new report.

The lack of training comes from un-redacted information made public Thursday based on a report compiled by Michael E. Graham, a former 33-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The new un-redacted information shows Prince George’s officers received no discipline for racial profiling, Black and Latino officers are twice as likely to receive disciplinary charges as their white counterparts, and senior officers failed to track whether a disciplinary system “was discriminatory.”

Graham’s report, filed at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, comes in connection to an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2018 led by former county police officer and retired Capt. Joe Perez, president of the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Officers.

Dennis Corkery, a counsel for Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs working on behalf of the former and current county officers, said Prince George’s officials are permitted to decide what information remains confidential.

Some of the report remains redacted,

“We can still let the judge ultimately decide what is not confidential,” Corkery said, adding that another hearing on the case hasn’t been scheduled.

Graham’s services have been retained by the lawyers’ committee, D.C.-based legal firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, and the ACLU of Maryland.

According to a bill summary, the county has spent $6.3 million to challenge the suit as of April 30.

“This is a lawsuit that was filed days after I took office in December 2018 regarding allegations that occurred in the years prior,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement Thursday. “As the executive of Prince George’s County, I have the responsibility to defend lawsuits against the county. This is a responsibility shared by all executives, and in this case, answering our liabilities is no different. We look forward to resolving this, in a court of law, in a way that is fair to the county and fair to the parties involved.”

The un-redacted information in the report shows figures from a disciplinary chart and other data such as:

– Terminations or resignations: 71.4 percent of Black officers, compared to 21.4 percent of white officers.

– Suspensions and leave without pay: 65.5 percent of Black officers, 3.5 percent of Latinos and 29.3 percent whites.

– All punishments: 54 percent of Black officers, 10.5 percent of Latinos and 33.2 percent whites.

The overall makeup of the police department is 42.8% Black, 9.1% Latinos and 44.5% white.

The report also notes a department draft quiz provides questions limited to sexual harassment and contains questions about North Carolina law rather than Maryland.

The previous report by Graham released last month shows more than two dozen incidents of white officers who used racial slurs and retaliation practices against Black and Latino officers. Because some of the information remains edited, dates for certain incidents remain unknown.

Several hours later after the report was released, Police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned.

Alsobrooks appointed Assistant Chief Hector Velez as interim chief while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent leader.

Meanwhile, Alsobrooks established a police reform task force to review department policies and procedures. The group is to submit a comprehensive report to the county executive by Oct. 30.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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