Three black cops sue Paterson, NJ, claiming racism in Police Department

By | July 25, 2017

Three African-American sergeants in the Paterson Police Department have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that “a history of racism” delayed the promotions of minority officers.

Two of the officers — Karen Rayfield and Tamiko Griffin — allege in the lawsuit that the city dragged its feet complying with a federal decree regarding their promotions to sergeant, which the officers assert prevented them from being eligible to make lieutenant last year.

The third officer, Kelly Cary Pacelli, claims she was denied transfers to favorable assignments. The lawsuit claims that Pacelli had been seeking a transfer to a day shift when a white officer, who heard she might become his supervisor in the cellblock, allegedly used a racial epithet, saying he would not take orders from an African-American.

The lawsuit claims that the day job in the cellblock eventually was given to a white sergeant and that the officer who made the racial comment was not properly investigated. (

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