A Black Maryland police officer says he was ostracized and mocked after calling out higher-ups who talked about killing Black Lives Matter protesters on a regular basis. Now, he’s suing.
Mark Miles told The Atlanta Black Star that after complaining about the violent conversations, he was moved to a different squad, while those who made the remarks were promoted. His federal civil lawsuit aims to address the systemic racism within the police force and accountability for the accused officers.
“These officers are out there on the streets, and these kinds of racist attitudes can’t be allowed,” Miles’ attorney, Erika Jacobsen White told The Black Star.
Miles said the harassment started in April 2020 after joining “Shift 5” of the Maryland – National Capital Park Police. Miles, who is biracial, claims his white supervisor, Sgt. Stephanie Harvey and others questioned him about his race, telling him that they “were worried they couldn’t trust” him “because he’s Black.”
Harvey is listed in the lawsuit as one of the main people carrying out the harassment, which also includes text messages shared to the squad.
“Joke, don’t turn these texts over to [internal affairs] and get me fired for hate speech!” Harvey said in one message. “Because I’m racist … a misogynist too or maybe a homophobe … I check all the boxes,” she said in another.
In yet another message, Harvey said she believed racism was a made-up thing and told Miles, “You’re the only half-colored on the squad.” Miles complained to the captain about Harvey’s use of the word “colored” to which she said she was being “politically correct.”
Harvey was removed as a sergeant but two of the white officers who participated in the messages were promoted –– one of whom became Miles’ supervisor.
In an act of retaliation, Miles says that when he put in a request for back-up during a high-risk call, no one from his squad came. Montgomery County Police officers showed up to assist.
As a result Miles was “involuntarily” put onto a night-shift to avoid further retaliation. The Capital Park Police say they took “appropriate action” against the involved officers.
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