BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Department of Justice is investigating the Prince George’s County Police Department after several officers claimed they are treated unfairly because of their race.
A complaint was filed by two police officer organizations claiming patterns of racial discrimination and favoritism.
The organizations represent more than 100 African American and Hispanic officers who are not speaking publicly about the discrimination complaint.
“The main reason for the complaint is that we get fair and equitable treatment for all officers regardless of their race,” said Joe Perez with the Hispanic Officers Association. “If you look throughout the country, we’re having all types of race issues. What makes you think that we’re immune from that here in the county?”
Tuesday the Department’s chief made it clear he would cooperate with the DOJ and racism has no place on his force.
“We are prepared to fully cooperate without reservation and provide any and all information that the Department of Justice requests,” said Prince George’s Police Chief Hank Stawinski. “I won’t tolerate an unfair work environment. I will not tolerate injustice. I expect a lot from the men and women who do this job.”
In February, some officers filed a DOJ discrimination complaint after some colleagues used a training dummy with a photo of a black man’s face taped to it.
Another PG County officer was banned from county property after coming to work with a license plate that was derogatory towards former president Barack Obama.
In response to the discrimination claims, Chief Stawinski started a group to look into how officers in the department are hired and disciplined.
The PG County Police Department is about 43 percent African American and about the same for Anglo-white officers. Officers of Hispanic or other backgrounds make up about 15 percent of the force.