Jury finds DC police officers suffered retaliation; $900,000 award

Officers Donald Smalls, William James, Frazier Caudle, Nikeith Goins and Sholanda Miller worked for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) here in the District of Columbia. They worked for Lt. Ronald Wilkins of the First Division vice squad. In Feburary 2006, these five African-American officers filed anonymous charges of race discrimination against Lt. Wilkins.  Four days later, management announced that everyone in that squad would have to reapply for their jobs. These five who complained received new assignments in less desirable units. After an 11-day federal court trial, a jury has found that MPD management acted in retaliation.  It awarded two of the officers $250,000 each and another two $200,000 each. Spencer Hsu has released an article about the verdict in today’s Washington Post. In the article, D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson raises a concern about an increasing number of whistleblower claims made in the Department.  He is also concerned that District officials are choosing to resist the retaliation claims instead of settling them. Congratulations to attorney Jennifer Klar of the Washington law firm of Relman, Dane & Colfax, for representing the officers in this victory.  The District has announced that it plans to appeal.

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