Jury: Race Was Not Motivating Factor In Planned Demotion of D.C. Police Commander

WASHINGTON (WNEW) — After five days of arguments and testimony, the jury hearing the discrimination case against the District and D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier have delivered a verdict.

It only took jurors about an hour to conclude that race was not a motivating factor in the planned demotion of a black police Commander. Attorneys for 29-year veteran Evelyn Primas unsuccessfully argued that Lanier discriminated against her by replacing her with a white man who had less experience and education.

Primas claimed in a lawsuit that the police chief informed her she would be demoted two ranks — from Commander to Captain — as part of a department-wide restructuring in September 2007.

Throughout the trial, the defense maintained that many officers had their ranks and responsibilities adjusted during a massive overhaul in 2007 and the changes affected all races and genders.

The defense also said Lanier has the power demote or reassign any high-ranking officer, since he or she serves at the pleasure of the chief.

Primas initially said she would just retire, but when she heard who was replacing her, that’s when she raised concerns about possible discrimination. Primas retired anyway, before she could be demoted.

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