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Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia Det. Jed D. Worrell, 57, is pictured at The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Worrell, who has been on the MPD force since 1992, was tack

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

A career detective in D.C. is shedding light on how racism still doesn’t evade him, even when he’s in law enforcement.

According to The Washington Post, after a long shift of detective work in Columbia Heights, Jed Worrell, who is Black, was heading home around 4 p.m. in September, but he stopped by a police substation to use the restroom and get a Diet Coke. He was wearing civilian clothing that included a Brooks Brothers shirt, slacks and a bow tie. He had visited the station before and he expected this visit to be like any other.

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Worrell used his police-issued security card to swipe through the front door of the station and another door to a secure area. Once inside, another officer who he did not know asked for his ID, so Worrell presented it to him. Then, Worrell said minutes later, a sergeant Worrell didn’t know also asked for identification.

This eventually resulted in a violent altercation between Worrell and two sergeants that ended with Worrell throwing one of the officers into a window and the other pulling out his stun gun and handcuffing Worrell, according to the police report.

Worrell, who is Black, said the white sergeants started the physical altercation when they grabbed him by his shoulders while his back was turned to them. Worrell has been on the force for 27 years and he believes this is the first time in his career that he felt subject to a racially motivated attack.  

The 57-year-old, who wears his hair in collar-length dreadlocks, filed a complaint with D.C.’s Office of Human Rights, claiming the sergeants targeted him because of his age and race. The police reports identifies both sergeants as being 33-years-old.

“I felt a sense of humiliation as though I was expected to kowtow to the sergeants,” Worrell wrote to the city’s equal employment officer. “I was profiled simply based on the way I look, different with dreadlocks.”

A police report filed three days following the incident tried to classify the altercation as an assault by Worrell on the two sergeants. Worrell said he only reacted to physical contact by the sergeants. He said he grabbed one and thrust him into a soda machine and “flung” the other towards a window. The detective said he remained in handcuffs for about 45 minutes after the incident.

Police said an internal affairs investigation is underway. The sergeants identified in the police report include Kyle Kimball and Stephen Amodeo, and they still remain on active duty. Meanwhile, Worrell said he’s on sick leave because he suffered injuries to his neck and wrist due to the altercation. He is still cleared to report to active duty. Worrell, nicknamed the Professor by his colleagues, is employed with the department’s special victims unit that focuses on investigations into the deaths of children and infants.

The detective explained that the September incident changed his views of the department:

“I believe that the majority of police officers are good and fit into the scheme of what is needed in law enforcement. I don’t think these guys are good officers or fit into the scheme of law enforcement. My trust is gone. I don’t know what to think about them anymore.”

Worrell explained that he was angered by the sergeant’s request to see his ID. When he turned to use a phone to call his supervisor to verify his employment, that’s when the two sergeants came up from behind him, one on each side and grabbed him. This led to the physical altercation.

“They initiated the first point of contact, not me,” Worrell said. “They escalated this and made it physical, which is not how we are trained.”

Worrell said he’s now deciding whether to keep his job or retire early. As of now, he’s just focused on his mental health.

“I still have a love for the job and the work that I’m doing,” Worrell said. “But I’m really having difficulty knowing if I kind of fit in anymore, if I’m considered a dinosaur or a rare bird.”


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