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Old 08-29-2019, 08:11 AM
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Default DOJ files race discrimination lawsuit against Baltimore County PD: negros can't pass written exam


DOJ files race discrimination lawsuit against Baltimore County police

Lawsuit claims BCPD discriminated against black applicants

Updated: 3:17 PM EDT Aug 28, 2019


The U.S. Department of Justice filed a race discrimination lawsuit against one of Maryland's largest police departments.

The DOJ is claiming the Baltimore County Police Department discriminated against black applicants for years.

Baltimore County plans to release new numbers to show what its Police Department looks like following the federal lawsuit.

"We are in the process, also, of releasing information to the public about the numbers and the practices of what our department looks like. We believe transparency, we're committed to diversity and we're going to get it done," Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed by the DOJ's Civil Rights Division blames a written exam that it said led to hiring fewer African-Americans as entry-level police officers and cadets, alleging the pass/fail exams were a discriminatory screening device.

The claim stems from a written exam the department used to select applicants.

According to the DOJ, written exams used by the Baltimore County Police Department to screen and select applicants led to the county hiring: "Fewer African American applicants as BCPD entry-level police officers and police cadets since January 1, 2013 than it would have had it used a nondiscriminatory screening device."

The department has used at least three different versions of the exam -- one from 2009-2013, another in 2014 and a third from 2015 and after 2016.

In all those cases the DOJ found that: "African-American applicants passed the exam at a lower rate than white applicants passed the exam. This difference between the pass rates of white and African American applicants on the exam is statistically significant."

Olszewski said the county stopped using the test before the lawsuit was filed, and the county has since hired a diversity inclusion officer and another will be hired specifically for the Police Department.

In a statement, the Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the justice department's Civil Rights Division said: "Employers must be mindful that an employment selection device, like a test, must be shown to be job-related if it disproportionately excludes members of one of title seven's protected groups."

Olszewski's office released a statement Tuesday, saying: "A law enforcement agency should look like the community it serves. As I have said repeatedly since taking office, I am committed to increasing diversity in the county's Police Department. Chief (Melissa) Hyatt shares this commitment, and we have already taken concrete steps forward. In the interest of moving forward and while denying any liability for actions by prior administrations, we have stopped using the test that the Justice Department believes has an adverse impact on African-American applicants. We have created two diversity-focused positions in county government -- one for the county at large and one specifically for the Police Department. We will continue to work with Chief Hyatt, department leadership, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Blue Guardians and other organizations that represent our officers, in order to ensure that our Police Department is diverse, vibrant and reflects the diversity of Baltimore County's communities. We are willing to negotiate with the Department of Justice to resolve this matter in a way that best serves the Baltimore County Police Department and our mission of advancing public safety for all of Baltimore County."
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