Black lawmakers, unhappy with a Department of Natural Resources investigation that cleared a ranking officer of keeping a "humor file" of racial and ethnic jokes, are considering whether to ask the U.S. Justice Department to act.
The Black Caucus met with two black officers of the department's Marine Police Division Tuesday to discuss the officers' concerns over discrimination in the department.
The Black Natural Resources Police Association had asked Gov. Harry Hughes to conduct an independent investigation on the "humor file" and on promotion practices, and to remove Marine Police Superintendent Roy Rafter until the investigation was completed.
In a letter sent to Carl Snowden, a civil rights consultant for the black officers, Hughes said he was satisified with an internal investigation ordered by Natural Resources Secretary Torrey Brown.
Del. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore), president of the Black Caucus, said the lawmakers are not satisfied with Hughes' response. Cummings said the lawmakers are considering other options, such as requesting a federal investigation, if Hughes maintains his stand.
An investigation by the department cleared Natural Resources Police Sgt. Michael Hitchings of maintaining the "humor file," which was discovered by a black officer who filed a formal complaint.
Rafter has denied that he knew a "humor file" existed.