A Black police officer alleged the kind of racist vitriol happening inside of a Maryland police force that if taken out of context would read like a 1960s news article. Officer Mark Miles said in a federal suit filed on Monday that his former supervisor, Sgt. Stephanie Harvey, called him “colored” in front of his peers and “frequently talked about murdering Black Lives Matter protesters” with other officers in text threads, NBC News reported. “Defendant Harvey texted things like, ‘Time to start killing ….’” attorneys said in the suit.
She was also accused of writing: “They want a race war…ok lets go.”
The sergeant’s disgusting reference to Miles as “colored” allegedly came up during a squad meeting about two weeks before a roll call on Aug. 4, 2020 when Harvey was advocating against the department supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, The New York Times reported.
“Why didn’t you speak up?” Harvey reportedly asked Miles. “You’re the only half-colored on the squad.”
“Harvey and other officers repeatedly made racist, hateful and offensive comments on that text chain with impunity,” attorneys stated in the suit. “These comments included racial and other offensive ‘jokes,’ condoning ‘civil war’ or ‘race war’ and extremist militia groups, and overt threats of violence against African American citizens.”
Erika Jacobsen White, Miles’ lawyer, told The New York Times on Wednesday that her client wants to see things in the department change fundamentally. “The fact that this kind of overt racist behavior has gone on unchecked inside the Police Department is just tremendously egregious, and it affects not only Officer Miles but the citizens they are charged to protect,” White said.
Miles alleged that texts officers sent didn’t only target Black people but also included bigoted language about Hispanic, Asian, and LGBTQ communities.
“Defendant Harvey knew or should have known that her comments and conduct was illegal … that the conduct and comments of the officers she was supervising was illegal and harassing, but failed to take any steps to prevent and/or correct it,” attorneys stated in the lawsuit.
Miles said in the suit that Harvey asked people not to “turn these texts over” and “get me fired for hate speech!” Miles also said that when he reported the negative experiences to supervisors, he was bounced “to a less desirable night shift,” according to the suit.
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission was also named in the suit, which accused the commission of failing to “fully and adequately prevent, correct and discipline” white officers who engaged in racist acts.
The commission oversees public parks in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in suburban Maryland and also employs a police force of almost 100 officers in the counties, The Washington Post reported.
The commission said in a statement NBC News obtained that its police force “does not tolerate racism or harassment in the workplace … When a series of secret text messages among a group of Park Police officers came to the attention of our management, we promptly initiated an investigation and took appropriate action,” the commission said in the statement.
Several officers have since been suspended or recommended for termination, NBC News reported.
“The suggestion that Park Police management ignored allegations of misconduct by this group of officers is simply incorrect, and we will make the results of the trial board process public at the appropriate time,” the commission said.
Jonathan Ness, president of the police union Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 30, told The Washington Post the union “works tirelessly to see that all members are treated fairly, have the best possible work environment and are afforded their due process rights.
“We are refraining from making comments prior to the conclusion of trial boards,” Ness added.
Powered by WPeMatico