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Current and former D.C. police officers, all Black women, announced at a Wednesday news conference that they are suing the District. (Emily Davies/The Washington Post)

By Emily Davies

Ten current and former Black female D.C. police officers filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the District, alleging its police department has engaged in “repeated, coordinated and relentless retaliation” against Black female officers who have complained about discrimination or other police misconduct.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District, accuses D.C. police of cultivating a culture that degrades women and turning on those who have tried to raise alarm about race and gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

The women contend the problems have plagued the department for more than two decades under at least three police chiefs. Attorneys are seeking a class-action status that would include more than 700 current and former Black female D.C. police officers who served from Jan. 1, 2011, to present day.

“The days of ignoring and disbelieving women who come forward when they are mistreated are over,” said Pam Keith, an attorney with Donald Temple Law in Washington who is representing the women. “No one should have to endure relentless denigration, just to be able to go to work.”

The suit asks for a court-appointed official to overhaul the department’s personnel division and a $100 million fund to compensate officers who have been harmed over the past decade.

A spokesman from the D.C. police responded to the lawsuit in a statement Wednesday, declining to discuss specific allegations but affirming the department’s commitment to treating all members equitably.

“We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly,” D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said in the statement.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.