Dated: Saturday September 25, 2021
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. wishes to offer its support to the 10 current and former Black female members of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. who have recently filed a class action lawsuit against their agency claiming racial and sexual discrimination, hostile working environment and a culture of intimidation. Their plight is just another glaring example of how female officers are treated in their constant and continuous battle to gain respect and dignity in a White male-dominated atmosphere. Their suit further claims that they have been treated with contempt and subjected to a male-dominated "culture of race and sex discrimination" and "intense pervasive retaliation" when they complained about the treatment.
Police work is inherently stressful. However, this traditionally White male-dominated field has created increased obstacles and stressors for female officers, Black female officers more specifically. While all officers are exposed to stressors that are inherent to the job—such as violent crime, human suffering, and life and death decisions—many of the unique stressors that women, and particularly Black females, face are due to the organizational stress associated with the policies and practices of the department, causing female officers to experience higher levels of stress than their male counterparts do. This stress is related to the gender bias, sexual harassment, racial animus and isolation that Black women commonly experience in the White male-dominated field of law enforcement.
The general causes and complaints of these plaintiffs’ lawsuit are, in fact, nothing new to Black law enforcement officers who daily face issues of systemic racism, bigotry, retaliation, and undue disciplinary action within agencies whose white-male dominated culture condones and perpetuates demeaning, degrading and disrespectful discourse and actions by and between officers. The mere fact of its filing would seem to provide evidence of an ongoing pattern, practice and custom of supervisory approval of abuse, intimidation and denigration of Black female police officers, actions that have apparently been ignored or encouraged by agency administrators.
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.
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