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Black Narcotics Police Officers Sue Philadelphia, Charging Corruption and Discrimination

Pennsylvania

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 12/18/2017, 1:44 p.m.
Four African American narcotics officers and the Guardian Civic League, which...

Four African American narcotics officers and the Guardian Civic League, which represents Black police officers, have filed a federal lawsuit against Philadelphia, its police department and two narcotics supervisors, claiming the officers are victims of workplace racial discrimination and retaliation for refusing to falsify drug-arrest paperwork, according to Philly.com. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and an end to the alleged discrimination and retaliation, comes three months after the officers’ attorney and civic league officials first made the allegations public during a news conference. “Commanding officers have harassed and encouraged harassment and disrespect of African American police officers to the point where we believe that a crisis of racial discrimination exists at Narcotics,” Rochelle Bilal, civic league president, said in September. The four-count complaint names Chief Inspector for the Narcotics Bureau Anthony Boyle and Inspector for the Narcotics Bureau Raymond Evers as the supervisors who ordered the plaintiffs to falsify drug reports through a practice known as “flipping,” and who retaliated against them for refusing to do so. The plaintiffs, Staff Inspector Debra Frazier, Capt. Laverne Vann, Lt. Anthony Burton and Officer Shamal Bryant, were each punished by Boyle and Evers for refusing to engage in flipping, according to the suit. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the commanding officers have also subjected Black supervisors to terms and conditions of employment that are different from those of similarly situated white officers.