NYPD Accused by Black Sergeant of Discrimination, Retaliation

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By Porter Wells

A black sergeant is accusing the New York City Police Department of discrimination and retaliation after he filed an official complaint about racist comments made to black patrol officers.

The police department is litigating another discrimination lawsuit filed in September 2017 by a group of black detectives. They say the NYPD Intelligence Bureau’s promotion policies are secret, subjective, and discretionary. The result, according to the plaintiffs, is that black officers are systematically passed over for promotions by mostly white decision-makers.

In the present complaint, filed March 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Tell Beharry says two black patrol officers complained to him of “racist comments in the workplace.” Beharry filed a formal complaint with the NYPD’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity on Nov. 18, 2015, in accordance with NYPD policy.

Beharry says the department then withheld overtime opportunities and denied his March 2016 request for a preferential supervisory role. He says he was reassigned to a patrol beat and given disciplinary reprimands instead.

Seven Hispanic officers with “significantly less experience” were promoted to preferential supervisory roles, Beharry says. He joined the NYPD in 2001 and has attained the rank of sergeant.

Beharry brought his claims of discrimination under Section 1981 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and New York State law. He’s asking for a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.

The NYPD and the City of New York didn’t immediately provide a comment to Bloomberg Law.

Michael Hilferty of White, Nisar & Hilferty LLP in New York is representing Beharry. Attorneys haven’t yet entered an appearance for the police department.

The case is Beharry v. City of New York Police Dept., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:18-cv-02042, complaint filed March 6, 2018.

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