The woman who until October headed the internal affairs department for the Michigan State Police is suing the department and its top two officials, claiming she was forced to retire.
The woman, who is black, has accused the department of racial discrimination and violating whistleblower laws. She also alleges invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
At 50 years of age, the woman was a 25-year veteran of the department. She became commander of internal affairs in October 2015 and was the first black woman to fill the job.
A spokeswoman for the department said officials there were “confident that our members did not act in a discriminatory manner and we will vigorously defend the department against these allegations.”
According to the lawsuit, once she received the job, “it became clear that various high command members of MSP, all Caucasian, were disgruntled and unaccepting” of her new role. She said that once she accepted the post, several white officers in the internal affairs unit “quickly requested transfers.”
Her lawsuit contains a number of specifics that detail how she contends she was treated by white members of the department, including both supervisors and underlings. Her complaints include a department lieutenant posting on Facebook “That black bitch is gone” once it was believed she had been transferred from internal affairs; her predecessor refusing to help her as she took over the post and trying to discredit her; a supervisor micromanaging her; and a supervisor refusing to proceed with an investigation into a white trooper’s alleged use of excessive force.
Laws exist to protect people of color from discrimination as well as all employees from being retaliated against for reporting misdeeds in the workplace. An attorney experienced in workplace law would have many questions about the conduct of the police officials in this case. A case like this is strengthened by specific, well-documented exampled — which certainly seem to be in abundance.
If you have experienced racial discrimination or retaliation for being a whistleblower you have the right to compensation and justice through legal means.