Thomas M. Davis, the former deputy Prince George's police chief who was forced to resign in December, has filed charges with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Baltimore charging the county government and the police chief with racial discrimination.
Davis, who was the department's highest ranking black, was forced to leave because he asked three recruiters who worked for him to change test scores of black applicants. His complaint charges that he "was fired because he enforced civil rights laws too vigorously." Davis also alleged that there is considerable disparity between the way white and black officers are disciplined.
Police Chief Michael J. Flaherty asked for Davis' resignation on Dec. 20 after the three recruiters turned over a 1983 tape recording in which Davis told the recruiters to change test scores. According to a police investigation, no scores were ever altered.
Davis, 55, a retired Air Force officer who was in charge of recruiting, training and personnel, said he made that request because he believed the entrance exam was biased against blacks. Later in 1983, Davis and then-chief John McHale agreed to lower the passing score for all applicants.
Davis' attorney, Allen M. Lencheck, said that Davis' plan to push up the test scores of black applicants is a legal procedure upheld by several courts and is used by many agencies to compensate for racially biased tests. "No scores were changed, but if they had, it would have been okay, so he did nothing wrong."
Yesterday County Attorney Tom Smith said Davis' "race had nothing to do with his termination . . . . The actions he took were inappropriate for a high-level officer."
Davis' dismissal angered several elected black officials in the county, who have conveyed their displeasure to County Executive Parris Glendening.
State Sen. Decatur Trotter, a Democrat, said Glendening refused to hire Davis for another county position but has promised to help him find a civilian job in the area and also appointed a committee to investigate charges of racist practices in the department.