Black Capitol Police staff file new lawsuit claiming discrimination

Accusations of racial bias were again leveled against the Capitol Police Department when black employees filed a fourth class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination.

Approximately fifty officers, civilians and employees filed the lawsuit Jan. 24 in U.S. District Court, alleging “continuous, pervasive and egregiously discriminatory actions” by the Capitol Police, according to a statement released Wednesday by the U.S. Capitol Black Police Association.

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Allegations of discrimination outlined in the lawsuit include reprisals, hostile work environment, denial of promotions, denial of career-enhancing opportunities and age discrimination, the statement said.

“The Chief of Police, Phillip Morse, and members of the Capitol Police Board, have done little, if anything, to eliminate the obvious inequities that have negatively impacted the careers of African American officers and employees,” the association claims.

A spokesperson for the Capitol Police declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing the department’s policy of not publicly discussing pending litigation.

It is the latest such complaint brought against the department by black employees. Last April, dozens of black employees filed a complaint alleging discrimination by the police force.

“The United States Capitol Police Department continues to project a model culture of discrimination as reflected in a 'modern day version of a 19th Century Southern Plantation in law enforcement,' " said association member and Capitol Police Lt. Frank Adams at the time.

The employees' action comes more than a decade after nearly 300 workers filed a class-action discrimination lawsuit that still remains unresolved.

In 2001, current and former black Capitol Police officers and employees filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, citing discrimination by the Capitol Police Board. However, the number of plaintiffs in Blackmon-Malloy v. U.S. Capitol Police Board has been whittled down in the intervening years due to deaths or settlements.

“After more than a decade of litigation, the U.S. Capitol Police continues to violate the rights of African American Plaintiffs,” the association wrote Wednesday. “Unfortunately, seventeen Plaintiffs have died since 2001 ... Many other Plaintiffs are gravely ill at this time.”

“Very little has changed with the U.S. Capitol Police over the years relative to fairness and equality,” the statement continued. “In fact, this present case highlights the lack of progress towards racial and gender equality within the U.S. Capitol Police since the filing of the Blackmon-Malloy v. Capitol Police Board case more than a decade ago.”