PALMER PARK, Md. - The Department of Justice is investigating the alleged discrimination of Hispanics and African Americans by the Prince George’s County Police Department, according to officials.
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski announced his department was under investigation in a letter to his officers on Tuesday.
Stawinski stated he was notified of the investigation on Saturday and said the Department of Justice was investigating whether the police department was in violation of Title VII, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees.
A complaint was filed by the National Hispanic Law Enforcement Association and United Black Police Officers Association on behalf of 90 officers back in March of 2016.
“If it is demonstrated that structures or practices of this institution negatively impact any of you without cause, I will end them,” Stawinski’s letter read in part. “I welcome this new opportunity to further advance this work."
Stawinski said his department was fully cooperating with investigators.
Earlier in 2017, Stawinski addressed several photos that were part of the complaint, including one photo of a training dummy that apparently showed a black face pasted on it and an afro wig at its feet. The chief said the photo was believed to have been taken in 2015 or earlier because the particular piece of equipment had not been used since then.
Another photo showed a locker where “African American” was written on it where it was supposed to say “Color Guard” with the word “Color” crossed off.