September 25, 2017 – The law firm of Emery Celli Brinkerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP (ECBAWM) and the New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of black detectives who were denied promotions for years within the elite Intelligence Division of the NYPD. For well over a decade the division has maintained a subjective promotions policy, administered by white supervisors, who refuse to promote deserving black detectives.
“Minority communities have for decades distrusted the NYPD, and for good reason,” said Elizabeth Saylor, a partner at ECBAWM and lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “Pervasive discrimination against black detectives only deepens that distrust. The NYPD’s discriminatory culture needs to change.”
The lead plaintiffs in the case are Jon McCollum and Roland Stephens, as well as Sara Coleman, widow of Theodore Coleman. The three detectives each joined the Intelligence Division in 2001 and assisted with the cleanup and investigation of the September 11 attacks. They tracked hundreds of leads and suspects. In spite of their achievements and strong recommendations from their direct supervisors, they were repeatedly passed up for promotion because of their race.
Read the EEOC charge here, and the EEOC finding here. Also, read the DOJ Right to Sue letter here, the federal complaint here, and a press release here.
To read recent coverage of these detectives’ experiences in NYPD Intel, click here for a news article by New York Times, here for an editorial by the Times, here for ABC, here for Spectrum NY1, here for the NY Daily News, and here for the NY Post.
In August 2018, Elizabeth Saylor was quoted in the NY Daily News discussing this case and new allegations of racial discrimination in the NYPD Intelligence Division, which you can read here.
ECBAWM’s Elizabeth Saylor, Earl Ward, and Jessica Clarke, along with Chris Dunn with the NYCLU, represent Sara Coleman, the widow of Detective Theodore Coleman, and Detectives Jon McCollum and Roland Stephens.