A Black police officer in Syracuse, New York is suing the city’s police department over “blatant and extreme racism” and its “Jim Crow culture.”
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Brandon Hanks, 28, claims he was not allowed to join the department’s gang violence task force because his colleagues deemed he was a “gang member” and “narcotics trafficker” who has “known associations with gang members and convicted criminals,” the Washington Post reports.
According to the report, Capt. Timothy Gay penned a memo in April that claimed: “Hanks’ association with known gang members, convicted criminals — felony and RICO — known to be involved in gangs, narcotics trafficking and other criminal activity are cause for concern when considering a transfer to the Special Investigations Division.”
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Hanks called the statements about his character “an ultimate violation.”
“It’s a clear, clear, clear–cut example of racism and discrimination,” Hanks said. “This is what’s been going on, and this needs to stop.”
Police Chief Kenton Buckner is named in lawsuit, and he told the post that the task force position is still open to Hanks.
Buckner rejects Hank’s accusations against the department, claiming his lawsuit “painted an inaccurate picture” of the police force.
“I don’t worry about the stuff in the memo, but the silent officers who haven’t said anything about it to me? Those are the people that I’m scared of,” Hanks said. “I don’t know if I can trust being around these people. Are they going to have my back?”
Per Complex, Hanks is reportedly seeking $33 million in damages, as well as increased employment and training opportunities for Black officers.
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