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Capitol Police discrimination case continues

Black members of the U.S. Capitol Police are continuing a race discrimination lawsuit that has been proceeding for more than a decade. United States Capitol Black Police Association has filed an amended complaint in the case that was originally brought in 2001.

This litigation, which alleges race discrimination and hostile treatment of black officers by their senior officers within the Capitol Police, had been dismissed at one stage by a lower federal court, was reinstated in 2009 by a federal court of appeals decision. 

The amended complaint raises the claim of a "widespread pattern of racial discrimination" by the department. It argues that black officers were passed over for promotion, with the promotions going to less-qualified white officers.

They also allege that racial slurs and epithets were used, and that some were publically humiliated. One officer noted that a K-9 dog was given his nickname. The agency denies the allegations, pointing to their anti-discrimination policies.

This type of case can be difficult and time consuming to prosecute and the Washington Post story notes that some member of the original filing have died or dropped out of the litigation. The Capitol Police claim they have made progress in recently promoting more black officers, but that would not absolve them of prior discrimination.

If you have been subjected to racial or other forms of discrimination in your federal agency or department, you should contact an attorney experienced with these types of discrimination cases. They can examine your circumstance and help determine if you have a viable case.

Source: Washington Post, "Black Capitol Police officers file amended lawsuit alleging discrimination, retaliation," Associated Press, July 12, 2013

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