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Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

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Federal Court Jury Decides for the District in Police Department Discrimination Case

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ted Gest
Public Information Officer
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A jury has returned a verdict in favor of the District of Columbia in a lawsuit by a former Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) commander who filed suit charging that she was subject to race and sex discrimination during a police department reorganization, D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said today. During the reorganization in 2007, Evelyn Primas, then a commander, claimed that she was being discriminated against and effectively forced to retire. The District convinced the jury that there was no discrimination and that MPD Chief Cathy L. Lanier was authorized to make the personnel changes involved in the reorganization.

Concluding a five-day trial, a jury in the court of United States District Judge Richard J. Leon last Friday rejected Primas’s claims of race and sex discrimination after less than an hour of deliberation.  The amended complaint had sought $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

Chief Lanier said, “I am pleased with the jury’s verdict. This case arose from the department-wide reorganization I implemented when I became Chief of Police. The reorganization was my vision to streamline the department to operate more efficiently. The reorganization was never about any one employee.”

Attorney General Nathan commended Assistant Attorneys General Kerslyn D. Featherstone and Shermineh C. Jones, who handled the trial under the supervision of Section Chief Patricia A. Oxendine and Deputy Attorney General George Valentine of the Office of the Attorney General’s Civil Litigation Division.