Campus Notebook: Police Settle 2010 Retaliation Lawsuit
The Capitol Police Board has come to a settlement agreement with a veteran former officer who sued claiming that she was retaliated against for her involvement in another lawsuit.
Regina Bolden-Whitaker asked for damages of $300,000, alleging that her superiors targeted her because of her involvement as a plaintiff in the long-standing class action race discrimination lawsuit brought against the department by several African-American officers. Bolden-Whitaker is president on the U.S. Capitol Black Police Association.
It is unclear what the terms of the agreement are or whether Bolden-Whitaker received any money, but the case was voluntarily dismissed Monday.
Bolden-Whitaker, who had been a Capitol Police officer for more than 25 years when she retired last year, claimed that her superiors wouldn’t allow her to wear a leather belt with her uniform despite allowing a white officer to wear the same attire.
The standard-issue police web gear belt causes her severe back pain, according to her complaint filed July 12, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The suit claims Bolden-Whitaker’s superiors made her jump through administrative hoops by forcing her to provide a doctor’s note every month documenting her back condition. They then placed her on restricted duty, where she could be forced to retire in one year.
“Defendant’s actions threaten Officer Bolden Whitaker’s career, demonstrate disparate treatment and are discriminatory and retaliatory,” according to the complaint.
Bolden-Whitaker was originally defending herself, but in January she took on Warren Allen as her attorney. When contacted at his Washington, D.C., office, Allen declined to comment on the case.
The Capitol Police Board filed an answer to Bolden-Whitaker’s complaint in September, denying wrongdoing in the case. In October, a judge referred the parties for mediation.
By early March, the two parties in the case filed a joint motion to continue the case, stating that they had “reached an agreement to settle the matter and are working towards memorializing the terms.”
In the last status report filed March 18, the parties said they were still working out the terms of the agreement and would report to the court in early April.
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Correction: April 13, 2011
An earlier version of the story identified Regina Bolden-Whitaker as a current Capitol Police officer. She is retired.