Everett police officers sue for racial discrimination

By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly

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Three Everett police officers filed a lawsuit on Jan. 8 against the City of Everett, its Chief of Police Katherine Atwood, and its Police Captain David Fudge, alleging racial discrimination.

Officer Sherman Mah, a Chinese American, Officer Richard Wolfington, a Native American, and Sergeant Manuel Garcia, a Hispanic American, claim they were subjected to racially derogatory remarks, treated harshly, and repeatedly passed over for promotions given to less qualified, white officers. The officers also contend that their complaints to their supervisors and the City of Everett were never investigated.

Garcia has been with the police department for 25 years. Wolfington has been there for 20 years, and Mah has 18 years with the department.

According to court documents, Wolfington also reported to his superiors what he “reasonably believed to be unethical acts and/or violations of policy” by Fudge, including allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate female officer and an incident in which Fudge was drinking alcohol while he was the on-duty officer during the Everett Police Department annual retirement party. After these reports, Wolfington claimed “Fudge began to treat Wolfington in a hostile and retaliatory manner.”

In response, the City of Everett Public Information Director Meghan Pembroke released this statement:

“The City investigated the plaintiffs’ allegations and determined they were without merit. The City intends to vigorously defend against the claims. It is important to underscore that the Everett Police Department’s core values include integrity, professionalism, and honor, and the Department is dedicated to providing a supportive, nondiscriminatory work environment.

The Department uses fair processes for employee evaluations and for advancement to ensure that our most capable and effective officer leaders are promoted.” (end)

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