Everett fully denies racism within Police Department in court papers
EVERETT - The Everett Police Department is denying allegations of persistent internal racial discrimination marring its staff promotion practices in the city’s written response to the Jan. 8 lawsuit brought by two police officers and one retired officer.
Documents filed Jan. 30 in U.S. District Court deny all allegations of wrongdoing and deny any damages the three men seek.
Earlier this week after press time, a combined joint status report and discovery plan is due in court. The court anticipates the case could be ready for trial within one year.
The plaintiffs requested a jury trial.
In the discrimination case, Sgt. Manny Garcia, Officer Sherman Mah and retired Sgt. Richard Wolfington allege that they were denied promotions in favor of white officers because of their race. The three are Hispanic, Asian-American and American Indian, respectively.
While the response paperwork is standard in civil cases, it does imply that the city may be moving forward to defend itself in a trial.
In its response papers, the city denied every single allegation that racism occurred, and defended its promotion choices by stating in each case the department chain of command selected the best candidate for the job.
The city denies an entire section of allegations filed jointly by Garcia, Mah and Wolfington that their civil liberties were violated.
Garcia, who was born in Mexico and speaks Spanish, claims that he was twice passed over for promotion, according to court documents. While Garcia ranked higher on the lieutenant eligibility register in 2010, a white sergeant was promoted before him.
Nearly six months later, another lieutenant position opened up and Garcia received a probationary promotion. After his probationary period was over, he was demoted after his supervisor, Captain David Fudge, gave Garcia poor performance reviews. Under similar circumstances, Garcia alleges, other officers were given an extension of the trial period.
Garcia said in court documents that he is the only officer in at least the past two decades to be instantly demoted after his probationary period ended.
Mah, who is a naturalized citizen from Canada, alleges that he was repeatedly skipped over for promotion, according to court records. Even after he sought promotional opportunities, white officers were promoted instead despite ranking lower on the sergeant eligibility register, Mah alleges.
Wolfington alleges that after he reported Fudge for instances of inappropriate behavior, the captain began to treat Wolfington in “a hostile and retaliatory manner and overly scrutinizing his work performance,” which Wolfington found intimidating, documents state.
In the officers’ court papers, the hostile work environment was cited as being stressful enough for Wolfington that he quit the force in 2013 after two decades with the department.
The city’s paperwork states Wolfington officially retired.
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