A retired black cop in Michigan who worked in the K9 unit says he was demoted and lost his dogs only because of his race, while a white cop who accidentally killed his two K9 dogs was never punished.
In June 2013, a white Detroit officer accidentally left his two K9 dogs in a hot car, leading to their deaths. Although it is a crime in Michigan to fail to adequately care for an animal, this officer was never charged. He wasn't punished at all. Instead, he was given two more dogs, Click On Detroit reports.
Just a year later, in April 2014, a now-retired black officer says he was demoted for leaving a game at Ford Field early, even though a sergeant told him to go. The source was not named by Click On Detroit, but is filing a lawsuit against the Michigan State Police claiming he was unfairly punished because of racism within the department.
The white officer, who left his dogs in a hot patrol car with the windows rolled up for 11 hours, was forgiven. But the black officer who left the shift early lost both his K9 units as part of his demotion, attorney Leonard Mungo said.
“I just don’t see how the two can even be comparable," the source said.
Mungo has successfully sued the department in the past, recently winning a $5 million lawsuit against it for racial discrimination. Mungo said other troopers have come forward in the retired cop's defense, who was the only black officer in the K9 unit before his demotion.
“We have the representations from a white trooper that my client was called ‘Buckwheat,’ and my client was called ‘Sambo’ and other racially derogatory terms,” Mungo said.
The Michigan State Police employ just 59 black cops, compared to more than a thousand white cops.
“It speaks to a discriminatory mindset. It speaks to a discriminatory custom and culture in the Michigan State Police,” Mungo said.