Black employees of the Buffalo Police Department say their captain uttered racial rants

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Three black employees of the Buffalo, New York, police department have accused a police chief of racially harassing black male officers, according to a federal lawsuit.

Two senior officers, Brandon Hawkins and Katelynn Bolden, along with Erica Seymour, a psychiatrist with the department, filed a lawsuit Monday against Police Captain Amber Beyer, who allegedly made a diatribe of insulting and racist remarks to a chamber of officers and clinicians.

Earlier this year, Buffalo was the site of a mass shooting in a predominantly black neighborhood. Thirteen people were shot, 10 of them fatally, and all but two shot were blacks. A county sheriff described the shooting as a “racially motivated hate crime”. Law enforcement officials said the alleged shooter sought a place with a high concentration of black people to carry out the massacre.

The three plaintiffs in Monday’s lawsuit work under Beyer with the police’s behavioral health team.

“She just kept acting like a bully. A racist bully,” McMurray told The US Express News.

According to the lawsuit, on May 2, Jason Wagstaff, an officer, showed Beyer a viral video of an incident in which two white officers in another jurisdiction apprehended a black officer. After Beyer watched the video, she went on a 20-minute diatribe. According to the lawsuit, Beyer said black men cheat on their wives more than white men. When Beyer said this, she looked to a white officer in the room, Jamie Francis, to get him to agree.

“Okay, Jamie?” Beyer asked.

Francis did not recognize Beyer, the lawsuit says.

According to the indictment, Beyer said she would be suspicious of a black man if she saw him in her neighborhood, a mostly white suburb of Buffalo. She reportedly added that white cops get post-traumatic syndrome from working in predominantly black neighborhoods like Buffalo’s east side. However, she argued that black officers are not affected in the same way because black people are used to violence and commit more of it than white people.

After making the alleged remarks, Beyer walked away. According to the indictment, several officers from the department texted each other in shock about what she said. One officer eventually filed a complaint about internal affairs.

Hawkins asked Beyer to apologize for her comments, but she declined, the lawsuit said.

Beyer’s racial slurs continued on Sept. 29, officers allege, after she printed out a Facebook post from a mentally ill Buffalo resident. While reading the post in “dramatic fashion,” Beyer repeatedly yelled the word “niggas,” looking at the three black cops named in the lawsuit.

Offended, Bolden spoke up and asked Beyer to say the “N-word” instead.

“I just read the post,” Beyer reportedly replied.

The lawsuit also alleges that Beyer discriminated against black employees by offering white officers with the least seniority overtime to attend conferences and events.

The Buffalo Police Department did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The lawsuit is seeking $15 million in damages.

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