MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Detective files discrimination claim against Seattle police

Mar 19, 2023, 3:36 PM

Seattle police...

(Seattle Police)

(Seattle Police)

SEATTLE (AP) — A Black woman who has worked for decades as a Seattle police officer filed a $10 million claim with the city against its Police Department on Friday, alleging racial and gender discrimination.

Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin says in the claim that she has faced daily discrimination during her 43 years with the department, including instances where her loyalty was questioned because of her relationships in Seattle’s communities of color.

Seattle police officers confirm in exit interviews: Money isn’t the issue

The claim was filed by Bouldin’s lawyer, James Bible, a former chairman of the King County NAACP, The Seattle Times reported. The city has 60 days to respond, and if the claim is denied, Bouldin can file a lawsuit.

The police department referred questions from the newspaper to the City Attorney’s Office, which said it had not yet seen the claim and declined to comment.

Bouldin, 67, has been a prominent police officer in the diverse South Precinct, where she has taught children to play chess and build relationships. A Rainier Beach neighborhood park named for her opened last year.

Bouldin alleges a hostile work environment including overtly racist remarks by white supervisors and being ordered to perform menial tasks that were “degrading, humiliating and (with) racist overtones.”

“She files this claim for damages in hopes that the department will authentically address issues related to the racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination she has faced in her career,” the complaint reads. “She notes that the hostile work environment she has been subjected to has increased dramatically in recent years.”

Bouldin also alleges that she faced retaliation after complaining about a co-worker who brought his dog to work and set up a pen and gate for the pet that Bouldin had to move to access needed supplies. After she took the issue to her supervisors, she said, feces and dog food were left at her locker.

In another instance, Bouldin says the name of a fellow Black officer was substituted for that of a wanted person on a flyer posted on a precinct bulletin board. She also alleges that some officers have refused to back her up on the streets.

Adrian Diaz looks to change Seattle Police’s ‘toxic environment’ as permanent chief

The claim does not name any specific SPD officials or officers. Bouldin said her race and her efforts to involve herself in the city’s communities of color have made her a target within the department even as its leaders hold her up as a positive example of community policing.

“The Department regularly points to Detective Bouldin’s strong relationship with the communities of color whenever there is controversy in relation to a Seattle Police action,” the claim alleges. “Behind the scenes, other officers and supervisors have belittled Detective Bouldin and challenged whether she is with the Department or with the community.”

The department agreed in 2012 to overhaul its use of force training, address management deficiencies and take note of disturbing but inconclusive evidence of biased policing as part of a federal settlement that has cost upward of $200 million and remains in effect.

Data gathered as part of that process has shown that Seattle police continue to stop and use force against Black people far more often than white people.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: The Kent refugee camp on June 3, 2024....

Sam Campbell

‘Food is finished:’ Refugees in Kent call for help as health, food struggles remain

About 170 asylum-seeking refugees living at a camp in Kent have been moved into temporary housing over the course of a week.

8 minutes ago

Image: A sign for a Big Lots store can be seen from outside the location June 7, 2024 in Hercules, ...

Steve Coogan

Big Lots to close 12 stores in Washington, about 140 nationwide

Discount retailer Big plans to close over 140 stores nationwide, including 12 out of 26 locations in the state of Washington.

46 minutes ago

Image: Matt Driscoll, a columnist for The News Tribune, died suddenly at the age of 43 in July 2024...

Bill Kaczaraba

Columnist Matt Driscoll, the face of ‘Tacoma and Pierce County,’ dies at 43

Matt Driscoll, a fixture in the Tacoma newspaper community, has died. A columnist and opinion editor for the Tacoma News Tribune (TNT), Driscoll was 43 years old. “The humor, the witty banter, and wry observations are what brought us together,” Matt Driscoll’s wife Jennifer Driscoll told The Tacoma News Tribune. “We really clicked in that […]

3 hours ago

Tacoma woman refused TB treatment...

Julia Dallas

Tacoma woman who refused tuberculosis treatment now healthy: ‘She’s cured!’

A Tacoma woman who refused TB treatment for months last year is now healthy. Health officials announced she is officially "cured."

4 hours ago

Commercial truck narrowly misses oncoming traffic in Bellevue....

Bill Kaczaraba

Watch: Wild ride from commercial truck driver leaves Bellevue drivers holding their breath

It was a close call at Main Street and 112 Street Northeast in Bellevue Tuesday morning, leaving Bellevue drivers feeling lucky they were not hit.

5 hours ago

lea hill shooting...

Luke Duecy

1 injured as shooting erupts in Auburn’s Lea Hill neighborhood; arrest made

The Auburn Police Department is investigating a shooting early Tuesday in the city's Lea Hill neighborhood that left one woman injured.

8 hours ago

Detective files discrimination claim against Seattle police