According to six Arkansas police officers, their local department is flooded with racism and discrimination, and those officers have decided to take a stand, the Arkansas Times reports.
Current Officer Lt. Earnest Whitten, Sgt. Derrick Threadgill, Sgt. Willie Davis, Lt. Johnny D. Gilbert Jr., Capt. Tanya Washington and one former officer, Jackie Parker, have filed a lawsuit against the Little Rock Police Department claiming they are victims of racism.
“In my opinion, the Little Rock Police Department has not lived up to what it is capable of being,” Gilbert Jr. told THV 11 News. “We want to find out what it is capable of doing to be better."
Attorney Mike Laux is representing the officers and said that his clients have a very clear case.
“I've looked at them. It doesn't make sense to me. Let's not beat around the bush," Laux said. "There is rampant racism and racial discrimination that riddles the Little Rock Police Department.”
The complaint states that black officers have been subjected low salaries, lack of promotion and unequal discipline when compared with their white co-workers.
Laux said that in addition to racial discrimination, officers have suffered age discrimination as well. "Black officers are often told to 'be patient' and wait their turn for promotion," Laux said. "Then as the time arises they are told, 'Guess what? You're too old.'"
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages to make up for the difference in lost wages and pay. It also aims to put a stop to the alleged racial biases that take place during the hiring process.
Laux said that he hopes the case will help the city and the department to change the way they look at race, to "clean house" so that change to occur.
"The place is a mess," Laux said, "and we're hoping with this lawsuit to sort out some of the mess."
The department and the city have refused to comment on Laux's allegations, or on the case, citing the fact that this case is in progress, the Associated Press reports.