WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the Maryland Department of State Police (MDSP) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The investigation will assess whether MDSP has engaged in racially discriminatory hiring and promotion practices.
“Discrimination has no place in any workplace, and especially in law enforcement agencies,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our investigation will determine whether the Maryland Department of State Police has created racially discriminatory barriers for Black people seeking job opportunities and promotions and, if so, identify the reforms necessary to ensure equal employment opportunities. All communities deserve law enforcement agencies that are built upon principles of fairness and equity.”
“This office strives to protect the civil rights of all Marylanders, including the rights of our sworn law enforcement officers,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland. “This investigation also furthers our mission to restore trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve by ensuring fair employment practices by police departments.”
The employment discrimination investigation will be conducted pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and religion. Under Title VII, the Justice Department has the authority to initiate investigations against state and local government employers where it has reason to believe that a “pattern or practice” of employment discrimination exists. The department has not reached any conclusions regarding the allegations in this matter. The Governor and Maryland State Police Superintendent have been informed and pledged cooperation with the investigation.
This matter is being investigated jointly by attorneys from the Employment Litigation Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. Individuals with relevant information are encouraged to contact the Justice Department at 1-800-556-1950 (option 9), or via email at MDSPInvestigation@usdoj.gov.
Addressing discriminatory employment practices of state and local government employers through enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division. The department has conducted numerous pattern or practice investigations of law enforcement agencies, fire departments, city, county and state governments under Title VII. Where violations have been found, the resulting settlements have led to important remedies. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt/employment-litigation-section.