Posted on July 8, 2004

DPD Officers File Civil Rights Suit Against City

Rebecca Lopez,, July 6, 2004

Six white police officers and one Hispanic officer have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Dallas.

The seven officers, who work in various divisions within the Dallas Police Department, allege racial discrimination after being passed up for promotions and transfers.

In their lawsuit, the officers said there is a pattern and practice of discrimination against white and non-Spanish-speaking Hispanics. They claim that instead, “minority candidates were chosen for promotions and transfers solely because of their race.”

The officers allege all the transfers happened during former chief Terrell Bolton’s tenure.

“I understand the need to diversify, but the law also says you can’t do these things solely based on race,” said Rhonda Cates, the officers’ attorney.

The officers said that they were passed over for promotions in favor of black and Hispanic officers. In one example, two white officers said they asked to be transferred into the narcotics division, but instead, “lesser-qualified minority candidates were chosen to transfer in narcotics.”

“They had been in the department less time and had no experience in narcotics at all,” Cates said.

Some officers claim when they spoke out against their commanders about the transfers, they suffered retaliation and were labeled racists. They said they had to work in a hostile environment.

The officers are asking for $1 million each, and they want the department to rewrite the transfer policy, saying the current one isn’t fair.

City attorney Madeleine Johnson said she has not seen the lawsuit, and cannot comment.