The Department of Justice is heading a civil rights investigation into the Maryland State Police (MSP) over whether it engaged in racially discriminatory hiring and promotion practices.
The investigation will be conducted pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.
Under that section of the law, the DOJ can investigate state and local government employers where it has reason to believe that a “pattern or practice” of employment discrimination exists.
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland is also taking part in the investigation.
Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said that investigation will determine if MSP “created racially discriminatory barriers for Black people seeking job opportunities and promotions.” If the department has, Ms. Clarke said that the DOJ would identify the necessary reforms to make sure there are equal employment opportunities.
The treatment of Black officers within MSP was previously reported on by WRC-TV, the NBC station for D.C.
“There’s the good old boy system, and we’re not a part of it,” one trooper, who remained anonymous, told the station in 2021.
Another trooper told WRC that “We always have to watch our backs — what we say, what we do,” and that it’s “never an even playing field.”
Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Jerry Jones said that “significant actions have been taken and are continuing to address even the perception of racism or unfair treatment of any kind” in a statement to the station.
That included, according to Col. Jones’ statement, collaborating with the Coalition of Black Maryland State Troopers, the Legislative Black Caucus, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, and the Maryland State Police Office of Equity and Inclusion to implement new procedures and initiatives.
Col. Jones would go on to say that he welcomes the investigation and that MSP will cooperate fully with it.
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