Black Capitol Police Officers Can Continue Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted September 11, 2009 at 5:51pm

More than 250 black Capitol Police officers will be able to continue their discrimination lawsuits after the U.S. Court of Appeals denied the department’s “petition for rehearing— that claimed most of the officers were improperly listed on a notice of appeal.

Their cases have dragged on for seven years, stalling after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in 2007 that most of the officers did not exhaust Congress’ in-house remedies before taking the issue to court. At the end of July, the appeals court overturned that decision, sending the cases back to the district court.

Soon after that the department filed the petition, arguing that attorney Joe Gebhardt only had the right to represent about 50 of 300 officers who are suing the department. The appeals court denied the petition Friday, meaning the cases can resume in the lower court.

Led by former Capitol Police Lt. Sharon Blackmon-Malloy, the officers claim they were denied promotions and treated unfairly because of a hostile work environment.