As an adult, I know it’s difficult trying to maintain a stable ‘work-life’ balance, but this is ridiculous. I’ve always admired the strength of Black women and the sacrifices they have to make, but to choose between my job or my child? I could not even imagine.
According to NBC News, Chanel Dickerson—the Metropolitan Police Department’s assistant police chief in Washington, D.C.—was pregnant as a cadet and told she would be fired if she decided to keep the child. Crazy, right? Yeah, I thought the same thing.
Dickerson, along with nine former and current Black female police officers, filed a $100 million lawsuit against the MPD in September, claiming they were discriminated against due to their gender and race.
“When I was 18-years-old as a police cadet, I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired from the MPD cadet program,” Dickerson said on Tuesday. “My choice to have a baby was personal and it should’ve been mine alone and not for an employer ultimatum.”
Although it was never disclosed whether she got the abortion or not, Dickerson, who has been with the department since 1988, said that she never became a mother, according to Fox5 in D.C.
Along with having to deal with that horrible ultimatum, Dickerson said that in the past when she and other officers would make claims of discrimination in the department to the higher-ups, they were dismissed and sometimes mistreated in response to their allegations.
Dickerson, who is currently the department’s highest ranking Black woman, also spoke to the treatment of other women on the police force.
“Fast forward from that time, I think about how my female colleagues, when I was promoted to sergeant,” Dickerson told Fox5. “And it was another sergeant who was promoted with me, and she needed a shift that was conducive to taking care of her child as a single mother. Unfortunately, she had to do things no woman should ever have to do to care for her child.”
An additional lawsuit was filed on Tuesday by three Black female former police cadets, NBC News reports.
As for the lawsuit filed by Dickerson and others in September, the Metropolitan Police Department made a previous statement, per the report from Fox5:
“While we cannot discuss the specific allegations due to pending litigation, the Metropolitan Police Department is committed to treating all members fairly and equitably throughout our organization. We take these allegations seriously and we will be reviewing them thoroughly and responding accordingly.”