Jury: University of Washington Must Pay $16M for Police Department Discrimination Against Black Officers

Attorneys for the Black officers claimed UW turned a blind eye for years to the more than 100 racist incidents.

Jury: University of Washington Must Pay $16M for Police Department Discrimination Against Black Officers

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A jury has found that five Black officers with the University of Washington (UW) Police Department faced decades of discrimination and racist comments by White supervisors and peers. The school was hit with a $16 million verdict on Thursday for the discrimination and hostile environment, reports the Seattle Times.

The trial lasted for six weeks, and dozens of witnesses testified, including UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

Attorneys for the Black officers claimed the school turned a blind eye for years to the more than 100 racist incidents committed by employees of the department. The incidents included slurs, physical intimidation, and even the placement of a banana and racist note by employees near one Black female officer’s locker.

One plaintiff alleged a window of his home was shot out shortly before the filing of the lawsuit. Another plaintiff claimed the brake lines of his car were cut.

UW officials said they were disappointed with the verdict and are reviewing their options, including a possible appeal. In a statement, the school said the alleged issues occurred under previous leadership and weren’t reported via official channels.

The lawsuit also claimed a White cadre of UW police officers forced the department’s first Black police chief to resign, with some complaining he hired too many unqualified applicants, which the lawsuit claims actually meant African Americans, reports the Seattle Times.

Only one of the five plaintiffs is still employed with UW’s Police Department.

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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