Racially discriminatory promotion practices continue in the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division, despite a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation that confirmed the allegations.
That report provides strong support for a federal class action lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of three African-American plaintiff who served in the NYPD’s elite Intelligence Division for years without getting promotions, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
“Jon McCollum, Roland Stephens and Theo Coleman were accomplished and committed detectives who are exactly the types of people the NYPD should be proud to have in its ranks,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Chris Dunn, who serves as co-counsel with the law firm of Emery Celli Brinkerhoff & Abady LLP.
Dunn added that the color of their skin is the sole reason department heads did not promote the lead plaintiffs.
“I hit a brick wall when it came to my career in intel,” Stephens stated. “I came to the painful realization that my skin color mattered more than my skills and achievements.”
The three detectives joined the division in 2001. Despite their achievements and strong recommendations from direct supervisors, they were passed over for promotions.
“I watched countless White detectives from my class move up in rank, but not me,” McCollum said. “Multiple supervisors told me if I were White I would have been promoted.”
The three detectives filed the EEOC complaint in 2011, when there were no Black detectives above the rank of sergeant in the division. After its investigation, the agency concluded that “Black detectives do not receive equal treatment in promotion[s],” and the division utilizes a “subjective and secret [promotion] process,” according to NYCLU.
Stephens and McCollum are now retired from the police force. Coleman is deceased but represented by his wife, Sara Coleman.
SOURCE: New York Civil Liberties Union