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Race discrimination allegedly practiced by police department

Allegations of discrimination have hit the Buena Borough Police Department in New Jersey. According to a lawsuit filed in September, the department practices race discrimination in its dealings with Hispanics and African-Americans. The suit was filed by a Hispanic officer on the force.

The complaint makes several accusations, not the least of which is that the department allegedly uses discriminatory practices against Hispanic drivers. As evidence, the suit claims that a disproportionate number of tickets are issued to Hispanics. Moreover, the suit says officers use derogatory terms in connection with Hispanics and African-Americans.

When the officer who filed the suit raised his concerns, the suit says he was improperly treated. First, someone had allegedly put a sign on his locker telling him to quit, covering up a Puerto Rican flag on the locker. Fellow officers also purportedly began not responding to assist him on some calls. The last straw came when he says that he was ordered to undergo psychological testing, which is allegedly a precursor to dismissing an officer.

The man's attorney says his client, as well as businesses in the area, told the police department it was important to mend relations between the police and Hispanics in the area. According to the lawsuit, the advice was ignored by the police chief.

The council for Buena Borough has hired a law firm based in Atlantic City, New Jersey to fight the allegations. According to a news article, the police chief has denied the allegations against him and the department and "looks forward to fully litigating this matter and obtaining a resolution in both his and Buena Borough's favor."

Source: The Daily Journal, "Buena, police chief fight discrimination suit," Joseph Smith, Nov, 3, 2011

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