(CNN) – A group of police in Montgomery County, Maryland, are accused of repeatedly making hateful comments against people of color in a group message thread – including that they hoped Black Lives Matter protesters would died.
One of their colleagues, Mark Miles, filed a lawsuit this week, claiming that his supervisor at the Maryland National Capital Parks Police and other officers sent text messages in a thread to discuss job duties. According to the lawsuit, they also “mocked, demeaned, ostracized and humiliated” him for being black.
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Miles’ unit patrolled parks, mainly those in Montgomery County.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in US District Court for the District of Maryland, accuses the Maryland National Parks and Planning Commission and Stephanie Harvey, his official supervisor, of conduct harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
Parks and Planning Authority in Montgomery and Prince George Counties.
When Miles, who joined the park police in 2019, began working on Harvey’s unit in 2020, he realized that the fact that the unit made derogatory remarks about non-skinned people white, including him is “customary”.
More than a dozen text messages are described in the lawsuit as examples. These include derogatory comments about Blacks, Asians, Jews, and Hispanics as well as anti-LGBTQ comments.
As officers discussed Black Lives Matter protesters, Harvey texted that it was time to “start killing” and “Wow, they got the Army out of there sooooo… hope they kill one number of people,” and, “Kill them all,” according to the lawsuit.
In the months following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis and the protests that followed, Harvey complained about the department’s stance on Black Lives Matter protests and said that the agency should not support the protesters, the lawsuit said.
Harvey also referred to Miles as “people of color” during the roll call meeting on August 4, 2020, the document states.
Another text message appeared showing Harvey knew that her comments in the group chat were offensive. “Joke, don’t transfer these texts to [Internal Affairs] and got me fired for hate speech! “, she wrote in a text message, according to the lawsuit.
CNN has reached out to Martin Oliverio, the attorney representing Harvey, but has not received a response.
In a statement, the Maryland-National Parks Police said the agency opened an investigation when the series of text messages came to their attention but did not specify when.
The lawsuit states that Miles first reported Harvey’s conduct to a captain in August 2020, “continued harassment and retaliation” by Harvey and other Department of the Interior officials in February 2021, and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2021.
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The Maryland National Capital Park Police said several officers had been suspended and referred to the disciplinary process for termination, adding that they were unable to discuss further details about the status of their employment. made of officers regarding the text messages.
However, the lawsuit notes that Harvey was suspended in March 2021 and several other employees have been promoted since Miles filed the complaint.
The ministry declined to share details of the disciplinary actions taken, saying “the suggestion that Park Police management ignore allegations of misconduct by this group of officers is simply unwarranted.” accurate and we will make the results of the panel process public at the appropriate time. ”
“Our Park Police leadership team does not tolerate racism or harassment in the workplace and will not hesitate to stop any such behavior whenever it arises. ,” added the park police.
Jay Holland, one of the attorneys representing Miles, said there was a “toxic culture” in the police department and the work environment in which his clients suffered was appalling.
Holland said: “A culture where racism and bigotry is the norm cannot be allowed to exist. “Officer Miles has fallen victim to his officers and department for bravely moving forward. After moving forward, he was ostracized by his colleagues, switched to night shifts, and he was concerned for his safety.”
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 30, the association representing active and retired officers of the Maryland National Capital Parks Police, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
But the union said in a statement that it “works tirelessly to see that all members are treated fairly, have the best possible working environment and are provided with due process rights.” according to regulations of the Law.”
Miles faced pressure to leave the unit after he complained of harassment, and was eventually “accidentally transferred to another less desirable night shift,” last November, the lawsuit said. said.
Attorneys for Miles filed the lawsuit after the Justice Department issued a right to sue earlier this month regarding his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
He is seeking economic damages and compensation, an order from a judge to ensure park police do not retaliate against him, appointment of an independent monitor to ensure compliance with the court’s decision sentence, punitive damages against Harvey and termination of her employment.
Erika Jacobsen White, another lawyer for Miles, said: “I think it’s really a sign that racism is pervasive in police today. “The natural outburst of this kind of overt and systemic racism in policing is what has led to the kind of police abuse we’re seeing across the country.”
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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/18/maryland-park-police-officers-said-they-wanted-black-lives-matter-protesters-dead-according-to-lawsuit/ Maryland Park Police Say They Want More Black Lives Than Dead Protesters, According to Lawsuit – CBS Baltimore