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The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of New York City police officers who claim that they’ve been barred from receiving promotions to the department’s Intelligence Division because they’re black.

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The black officers allege that there is a “secret list” from which white officers in the department are selected. The complaint, which was obtained exclusively by NY1, has been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It alleges the following:

“[The department] has chosen to cloak promotions in secrecy and give the all-white high level supervisors who run the Intelligence Division unfettered discretion to handpick white detectives for promotions over more qualified African American detectives.”

And according to the officers, the numbers spell it out. Of the 600 employees of the elite Intelligence Division, only 35 are black. Eight of the unit’s 161 sergeants are black and just 6 percent of the 224 detectives are black.

“This has been a problem for years,” retired Lieutenant Darrin Speight of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement tells NY1. “This is not something new. We want officers that are there by merit, not there because you drink beer with your supervisor or you are friends with the inspector.”

These New York officers are not the only ones who’ve complained of racism within police ranks recently.

Seven black officers in Richmond, CA, have been fighting a discrimination case against their department brass since 2007. And in 2009, Philadelphia cops filed a federal lawsuit alleging the publishing of disparaging comments from white officers on a racist website.


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