Prince George's County

Prince George’s Police Officers Reach Settlement Against Police Department

Representatives with current and former Prince George’s County police officers announced Tuesday their clients reached a $2.3 million settlement with the county police department for discriminatory and retaliatory practices.
The lawsuit filed in December 2018 also includes several policy changes that include the following:
Reduce or eliminate adverse impact and discrimination about Black and Latino officers.
Supervisors will face “severe discipline” if they don’t adhere to reviews on use-of-force.
Supervisors and police officers are required to receive anti-discrimination, anti-retaliation and bias-free training.
According to the announcement from the ACLU of Maryland, the county pay $825,000 in reimburse attorney fees to that organization, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and the D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter. The firm litigated the case on behalf of the officers.
The county must pay an additional $5 million in legal fees as provided in civil rights cases, according to the announcement. The groups plan to use those fees to fund future pro bono cases and other charitable causes.
The settlement amount in this case totals $8.1 million.
“The settlement with all the policy changes speaks volumes,” retired Capt. Joe Perez, president of the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association and one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said in a statement. “People lost their jobs, some were demoted, some were driven out, and community members were killed. It is my hope that our personal sacrifices will lead to positive change both for the officers and for the communities they serve, so that everyone can be treated with dignity and respect.”
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks released a statement Tuesday and plans to host a press conference Thursday to discuss specifics details on the settlement.
“I am pleased that we have settled this lawsuit,” she said. “When it was first filed in December 2018, I promised our residents that we would dig deeply into these claims, we would examine each point, and based on what I saw, I would be unafraid to make changes and address issues.”
This becomes the second case within a year the county reached in a settlement.
In September, the county settled for $20 million with the family of 43-year-old William Green, killed by a former police officer in January 2020 while handcuffed in a police cruiser.
The family’s attorney, Billy Murphy, said the $20 million settlement represented the largest figure in Maryland and one of the largest in the country for an unlawful shooting by police.
Murphy also represented the family of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, who reached a $6.4 million settlement with the city nearly six years ago after Gray died while in police custody.
In February, Alsobrooks announced nearly four dozen recommendations for the police department to implement such as mental health programs, officer training to prevent racial profiling and not hire officers with a history of misconduct or disciplinary problems.
The recommendations came from a police reform task force that formed last year after a report highlighted more than two dozen incidents by white officers who created a hostile work environment for Black and Latino officers.
The report also showed Black and Latino officers are twice as likely to receive disciplinary charges compared to their white counterparts and senior officers failed to keep track of disciplinary actions.
Michael E. Graham, a former 33-year veteran with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, compiled the nearly 100-page report on behalf of the plaintiffs.

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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