Three Black women who were formerly detectives with the Kansas City Police Department have filed a suit against the Missouri city, alleging they faced discrimination during an internal probe into the failures of the Crimes Against Children Unit.
In the 68-page lawsuit filed in Missouri on Monday, Nov. 16, Gleanice Brown, Latondra Moore, and Tamara Solomon claim that Black female detectives were reprimanded more harshly than their white male counterparts in the fallout of the investigation into the unit, which failed to properly investigate dozens of cases of sex crimes against children.
The lawsuit describes the investigation, which began in 2015, as “demonstrably biased and unfair,” against Black female detectives in the department.
The suit claims that officials in the department recommended punishments to Black female detectives that consisted of termination, or loss of detective status, while white men in the department were reinstated and could be promoted.
The women’s’ attorney wrote that KCPD supervisors were never recommended for termination, even though the department found that most of the unit’s issues were caused by mismanagement at the supervisory level.
Brown, Moore, and Solomon say they were “scapegoated and targeted” in the aftermath of the investigation, and also claim they were paid less than their white male counterparts, although they were saddled with higher caseloads.
The women claim they were scapegoats in media coverage of the investigation because the police department leaked confidential internal findings to the Kansas City Star.
The suit claims one sergeant, who had a file for Black female detectives, tampered with files related to the investigation. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that a captain in internal affairs used racial slurs at work to address his Black ex-wife. Another captain was allegedly allowed to use “purged” information against the Black female detectives during the investigation.
During the internal probe into the unit, which mishandled close to 150 cases, Brown, Moore, and Solomon were suspended along with six other detectives and supervisors.
The Star reported that the detectives and supervisors in the Crimes Against Children Unit had been negligent in handling cases, by misplacing evidence, covering up omissions, and failing to work on some cases for months.
A total of 17 officers faced disciplinary action at the conclusion of the investigation, and the unit was renamed the Juvenile Section.
The suit calls for a trial on claims of racial discrimination, sex discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.