Howard County Police Officer Sues Department, Claims Racial Discriminaton
The 10-year veteran of the department said she has not received the promotions and pay raises she deserves.
A Howard County police officer is suing the department for what she says has been race-based discrimination that has led to poor evaluations and a lack of performance-based raises.
Lisa Burgess has worked for the police department since April 2003. In charging documents filed in U.S. District Court, Burgess alleges that she began experiencing discrimination from her supervisor, Jennifer Reidy-Hall in 2010. The next year, according to charging documents, Burgess was put on “bi-monthly” evaluation after a poor annual evaluation.
Burgess, who is black, is the only non-white officer in her squadron.
Since Reidy-Hall became her supervisor, Burgess alleged in the charging documents, there has been a repeated pattern of “giving the plaintiff negative evaluations by writing false, misleading and exaggerated statements in her evaluations.”
Reidy-Hall said the poor rating was because Burgess’s arrest numbers were below average as compared to her peers, Howard County Times reports. Burgess’s lawyer, Tae Kim, said that was an improper way to evaluate an officer.
Howard County Police Spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn said that officers are not mandated to meet a certain number of arrests or citations, according to the Times.
Burgess said she has “suffered lost wages and emotional distress due to the continued harassment based on her race,” charging documents allege, and because of that, she has "not been promoted” and her supervisor has “failed to give her pay raises that she has properly earned.”
She is seeking $200,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.