Black Detectives Win Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against The NYPD, Get $700,000 In Settlement

Black Detectives Win Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against The NYPD, Get $700,000 In Settlement

Around 5 years of investigation yielded supporting evidence for the detectives' claims of systemic racism.

Three black detectives from New York had filed a lawsuit, claiming that they were discriminated against in the NYPD's elite Intel Division have received a $700,000 settlement.

NY Daily News reported that retired detectives Jon McCollum, Roland Stephens and the family of Theodore Coleman by paid the sum by NYPD, the case received the ruling on April 3. The trio had filed the suit in 2017 - accusing Intelligence chief Thomas Galati and now-retired Deputy Commissioner David Cohen of denying their promotions on racial grounds. 


The suit claims that despite the work and the experience that the three black detectives had, the promotions were given to underqualified white officers. 
“In spite of their proven track records of achievement and strong recommendations from their direct supervisors, they were repeatedly passed up for promotion due to their race,” read court documents. 


“More than one supervisor who recommended them said that if they had been white then they would have been promoted.” An anonymous source told the New York Daily News that Galati is guilty of favoritism. 
“They all worked for Galati, who promoted everyone else except them because they weren’t ‘friends of Galati,'” the person said. “If you’re not a ‘friend of Galati’s,’ he doesn’t take care of you.” 


Their claims were backed up by a report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The 2016 report, which came after a five-year probe, described a ”wholly subjective and secret process (that) operates without any structured guidelines.” - ruling in favor of the detectives. 


The Department of Justice declined to sue the NYPD over the finding that black Intel detectives weren’t treated equally, but it was a critical piece of evidence in the lawsuit. 

“The NYPD, as well as DOJ, over the course of years, carefully reviewed statistical and other evidence on promotions and diversity within the Intelligence Bureau. Race discrimination is not a factor in the promotional process," an NYPD spokeswoman said. 


“Discretionary promotions are based on a number of considerations which may include time, grade and performance. The city made a practical decision to settle this case with no admission of wrongdoing on the part of the NYPD, and with claims against all NYPD officials dismissed.” 


There are around 600 employees in the Intel Division, including around 280 detectives, according to the lawsuit.
The settlement includes back pay and damages to cover the loss of reputation. The agreement could factor in lawsuits brought by six disgruntled members of Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Protection Unit, NY Daily News reports. 


The EPU officers, most of whom are detectives, alleged they were passed over for promotions due to race, age, and ethnicity. 

McCollum, Coleman, and Stephens alleged in their Manhattan Federal Court suit that black detectives in the Intel Division were often posted in the “rap unit,” which was dedicated to working undercover at concerts and monitoring hip-hop beefs, among other operations. It was a dead-end gig within a division focused primarily on preventing terrorist attacks, the suit said.


Attorney Elizabeth Saylor said the detectives were satisfied with the settlement. 

“The detectives are happy with the result which finally recognized their years of exemplary service at the NYPD,” Saylor said. “They are disappointed that the NYPD still refuses to reform its secret, standard-less promotions process.” 

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