Four Black female police officers have filed lawsuits against the Baltimore Police Department, alleging they faced discrimination based on their gender and race, NBC News reports.
Sgt. Danika Yampierre said that stress and hostility from the workplace caused her to give birth to her third child on the sidewalk. Because of the trauma, she had to undergo emergency surgery due to complications from birth.
“I would never want my children to experience this and to see everything that I’m going through,” she said. “I’m supposed to be their hero.”
Filed last year, Yampierre, along with Sgts. Jasmin Rowlett and Welai Grant and former Sgt. Tashawna Gaines' suit comes in the wake of “the #MeToo and police reform movements that have increased awareness about sexual assault and harassment and police brutality against Black people,” Dionna Maria Lewis, the lawyer representing the four women argued.
“Now, we have law enforcement women stepping up and finally saying enough is enough,” she said.
Baltimore is not the only big-city police department to be levied with lawsuits alleging discriminatory practices.
In Washington, D.C., 10 Black female officers including the assistant police chief, filed a class-action lawsuit in the fall against the Metropolitan Police Department, alleging gender-based and racial discrimination. Since the first suit was filed, several other women have gone public with similar allegations against the department.
Back in November, Lt. Detective Donna Gavin was awarded a $2 million settlement for gender discrimination within the Boston Police Department.
The allegations by the four officers coincide with reforms mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Baltimore Police Department. According to their findings in an investigation that took place in 2017, the DOJ found that the city’s officers “routinely violated citizens’ civil rights, especially in predominantly poor black neighborhoods.”
The legal team of the city of Baltimore has filed motions to dismiss all the claims.