Assistant Durham police chief alleges discrimination

Durham Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes
August 19, 2013 8:18:27 PM PDT
A member of the Durham Police Department's command staff has filed an EEOC complaint alleging racial comments by the police chief and saying he was passed over for promotion because of his anti-discrimination stance.

The three-page document filed by Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes - a 25 plus year veteran of the department - says his relationship with the chief soured after he raised concerns about black officers overlooked for promotions - including a female lieutenant allegedly criticized for her manner of speaking.

"I did not file this complaint for myself," said Forbes. "I filed this complaint because I have a duty to uphold the law."

"Chief Forbes was advocating for qualified black candidates not being overlooked or passed over for promotion in favor of non-black candidates," said Caitlyn Thomson, Forbes' lawyer."

Forbes also claims he's endured racially discriminatory comments and actions by the chief, including a recent promotion, which he says he was denied because his been outspoken about the department's treatment of black officers.

Forbes filed a complaint with human resources earlier this year. About five months later human resources informed him a consultant completed an independent review and found what the city described as a "not substantiated" complaint.

"Racial discrimination within the police department is something that everyone should be concerned about," said Forbes.

In a statement to ABC11 Monday, the City of Durham said it can't comment on pending claims, but it has a "longstanding policy against illegal discrimination in the workplace and takes its duties and responsibilities under the federal and state EEO laws very seriously."

It went on to say that "if there is evidence to support a claim of illegal discrimination, the City will take all necessary steps to correct the situation.  If the evidence does not support such allegations, the City will vigorously defend itself and its employees."

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