The latest assertions of biased practices from a group of minority officers suing the county come after portions of the report from the expert hired by plaintiffs were made public this week in the lawsuit, which was filed in 2018.
Large parts of the expert report, filed in mid-June, were initially redacted because the information came from personnel reports that the county deemed confidential. Attorneys for the county later agreed to unredact some of that information. The rest of the redacted material is pending a federal judge’s review.
The expert report was written by former Los Angeles assistant sheriff Michael E. Graham, who was hired by the plaintiffs at $175 an hour to evaluate how the Prince George’s department handles employee training on harassment and discrimination, disciplinary hearings involving minority officers and complaints of racism within the force.
Graham’s analysis alleges that the department’s harassment and anti-discrimination practices, including the way it handles internal allegations of racism, are inadequate. The report said that of 57 formal charges sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were no records of internal affairs investigations for 49 of them.
“In other words, over 85 percent of complaints of discrimination or harassment did not result in a formal investigation,” Graham wrote.
His analysis said the internal affairs department declined to utilize a feature in its data-keeping software that would have allowed it to detect bias within its disciplinary proceedings.
Graham cites other data produced by the police department that shows no officers had been disciplined for racial profiling, and that the internal affairs department had “not sustained” any civilian complaints of racial profiling.
The expert report was filed June 18, the same day Prince George’s Police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned his post.
Joe Perez, a former officer with the department and a plaintiff in the case, called on the county to make public the redacted information. Perez is also president of the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association, one of two police associations that filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Maryland in December 2018.
Filed alongside the unredacted report Thursday was a motion from the plaintiffs’ attorneys asking the presiding judge to unseal approximately 100 documents related to the case that the county has deemed confidential.
The officers are represented by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
In its second year of litigation, the case has proved expensive for both parties. The county has spent at least $6.2 million defending itself; the plaintiffs have spent at least $4.8 million, according to the plaintiffs.
In a statement, County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) said her office looks "forward to resolving this, in a court of law, in a way that is fair to the County and fair to the parties involved.”
“This is a lawsuit that was filed days after I took office in December 2018 regarding allegations that occurred in the years prior," she said. “As the Executive of Prince George’s County, I have the responsibility to defend lawsuits against the County. This is a responsibility shared by all executives, and in this case, answering our liabilities is no different.”
Alsobrooks has previously said that her office is “not afraid" to hold people accountable if credible accusations of discrimination surface.