White Detroit Police Lieutenant Files Discrimination Complaint Against Department
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A lieutenant in charge of the Detroit Police Department’s drug unit says he was the victim of racial discrimination and subjected to a hostile work environment for reporting wrongdoing.
Lt. Charles Flanagan, who is white, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 28, four days after Internal Affairs conducted an audit of the Narcotics Section, according to a report in the Detroit News.
Flanagan’s attorney, Mike Rataj, said the 29-year police veteran uncovered numerous issues after assuming command of the unit in November — including a sergeant who failed to turn over several pieces of drug evidence and another who made up false evidence tags for items seized during drug raids, mainly electronics, and then kept the items for personal use. The alleged incidents took place before Flanagan commanded the drug unit.
Flanagan said he and two other white officers who are his friends were going to be transferred because he reported suspected wrongdoing.
According to the report, Deputy Chief Daryl Brown, who ran the drug unit when the alleged violations occurred, recommended the transfer. Brown, an African-American, currently runs the Criminal Investigations Bureau, which oversees the drug unit currently under Flanagan’s leadership.
“Deputy Chief Brown tried to transfer Lt. Flanagan because he reported his subordinates for possible criminal activity that took place under Brown’s watch,” Rataj told the newspaper. “When an officer tries to blow the whistle on wrongdoing, the people in charge retaliate.”
Chief James Craig said Flanagan’s allegations were quickly investigated. Craig, the only person who can order transfers, said he assured Flanagan he wouldn’t act on Brown’s recommendation.
“I specifically told Flanagan twice that despite the recommendation by the deputy chief, I wasn’t going to transfer him,” Craig told the newspaper.
The chief said his internal probe into the matter revealed that Flanagan was not retaliated against.
“When this investigation was initiated, it was against only one employee,” he said. “From that probe, we determined there were additional issues. We were trying to determine if seized property was accounted for, and through that review, we found additional property that hadn’t been accounted for.”
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