Prince George's County officers suing police department over racial discrimination claims

Multiple Prince George's County police officers are suing the department, claiming it discriminates against officers of color and retaliates against those who speak out.

Four active officers and one former officer appeared on Wednesday to announce the lawsuit, along with representatives from the NAACP.

Thirteen officers with the backing of the ACLU filed the lawsuit in federal court.

They're suing for department reforms, as well as "justice to the officers and community members who have experienced this egregious mistreatment."

Capt. Joe Perez was among those who spoke on Wednesday.

According to Perez, among the last 20 officers that were let go, only one was white.

The complainants say "the discrimination and retaliation within the Prince George's County Police Department are entrenched and systemic."

"This administration will take an officer of color who gets in trouble and put him out there and give all the information to the news and convict him in front of everyone meanwhile you have other issues out there criminal in nature they are sweeping it under the rug they are keeping it hush hush until the press finds out---we need justice," said Perez.

According to the 65-page lawsuit, leadership is dominated by white officers, and Chief Hank Stawinski is the heart of the problem.

FOX 5 also talked to new County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who said:

"The lawsuit was filed today I have therefor not had an opportunity to look at it--I have not spoken with the officers--I have been here at the COG meeting so I haven't heard what the allegations are but there is a process involved and as that process wraps itself up if we learn that there are discriminatory practices we will address them and again that is not just true for the police department that is any agency in the government."

Last year, the Department of Justice investigated the department regarding discrimination claims by Hispanic and African-American officers.