Md. chief resigns amid allegations of racism in department
Chief Hank Stawinski resigned after the filing of a 94-page report outlining accusations of bias against black and Hispanic employees
New York Daily News
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The police chief in Maryland’s Prince George’s County abruptly resigned Thursday, hours after police officers suing the department detailed new allegations of systemic racism.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced she accepted the resignation of Chief Hank Stawinski, effective immediately, following the court filing of a 94-page report outlining accusations of bias against black and Hispanic employees.
The report, compiled by Michael Graham, a former assistant sheriff in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, found that in Stawinski’s department officers of color were far more likely to be investigated, punished and fired than white officers.
The report also detailed more than two dozen racist incidents, many of which were not investigated — including some Stawinski allegedly had knowledge of and failed to act on.
Stawinski has for years faced accusations of bias within the department after taking his job as top cop in 2016. The bombshell report was issued Thursday in a lawsuit first filed by the 13 black and Hispanic officers in 2018.
The officers said white cops would make racist remarks or use racial slurs but wouldn’t face any punishment, while the department heaped retribution on the officers of color who reported the incidents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the officers.
His department is also reportedly facing an ongoing, years-long Justice Department investigation into racial discrimination dating back to 2017.
Stawinski’s stepping down came before the local chapter of the NAACP could hold its planned vote of no-confidence Thursday evening against his leadership.
The report dropped amid weeks of civil unrest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, the aftermath of which has had police forces around the country grappling with racial discrimination both internally and among officers in how they protect their communities.
Alsobrooks has planned to hold a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss Stawinski’s resignation and has declined comment before then.