WASHINGTON - At a community meeting Tuesday, D.C. Assistant Police Chief Chanel Dickerson made a deeply personal and stunning statement.
Dickerson, who is part of a $100 million lawsuit filed against the department by current and former female Black officers, said when she became pregnant as a young police cadet, she was told she had to have an abortion to keep her job.
"When I was 18-years-old as a police cadet, I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired from the MPD cadet program," Dickerson said. "Wow. My choice to have a baby was personal and it should’ve been mine alone and not for an employer ultimatum."
Dickerson shared that she never became a mother.
She went on to allude to misconduct involving another female officer who was trying to get put on a different shift.
"Fast forward from that time, I think about how my female colleagues, when I was promoted to sergeant. And it was another sergeant who was promoted with me and she needed a shift that was conducive to taking care of her child as a single mother. Unfortunately, she had to do things no woman should ever have to do to care for her child."
Dickerson is the highest ranking Black woman at the police department.
She spoke at a community meeting at Unity Baptist Church in Northeast and was joined by other current and former D.C. police officers who are part of the class action lawsuit alleging discrimination and harassment.
Dickerson later told FOX 5 reporter Lindsay Watts she hadn’t planned to share the story about being told to have an abortion, but decided to do it in the moment.
The lawsuit was filed last month and on Tuesday, another suit was filed on behalf of three Black women who are former D.C. police cadets.
They claim they were retaliated against and mistreated after cooperating in an internal investigation against a superior.
They were also at the meeting Tuesday.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said earlier Tuesday that he was unaware of the latest lawsuit, but it’s something the department is looking into.
The department has said this of the lawsuit Dickerson is part of:
While we cannot discuss the specific allegations due to pending litigation, the Metropolitan Police Department is committed to treating all members fairly and equitably throughout our organization. We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly.