Detroit police union responds to discrimination claims

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 14:26:22-05

The head of the Detroit Police officers union (DPOA) is firing back after a report said there is a growing racism problem in the Detroit Police Department.

The union's stance against the release of the document by the department and its contents puts the DPOA at odds with Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Craig created the Committee on Race and Equality (CORE) to promote transparency within the department.

"The creation of the document by a former committee co-chair, not based on fact, yet implies racist practices within the Detroit Police Department, is not only reckless but obviously and deliberately an attempt to deteriorate the great relationship our police officers and our police department have worked to harbor with our citizenry," said Mark Diaz, president of the DPOA, during a press conference Monday.

Diaz called the report a betrayal.

The department released the committee's report last week and Craig disputed some of the findings and said it was not an investigative report.

The report described "entrenched discriminatory practices."

Black officers reported incidents of preferential treatment of white officers by white superiors when it came to training opportunities and in advancement.

Some black officers also reported retaliation against those who saw bias.

"If the allegations are fact based, this association is going to deal with that and deal with that and deal with it swiftly," Diaz said Monday. "We don't have complaints of that nature nor do we have anything factually stating or proving, that in fact, we have racist practices within our department."

The DPOA represents 1,600 police officers in the department.

Craig was not available on Monday to comment on the DPOA response to the committee's report. He plans to address the matter on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the department.