Memorial Villages Police Department Accused of Racism by Former Dispatcher

A former dispatcher with the Memorial Villages Police Department paints a discriminatory and dysfunctional portrait of the law enforcement division for the wealthy Houston suburb, according to an affidavit filed in Harris County civil court.

Among the claims from L. Kelly, an African-American woman who worked as a dispatcher for Memorial Villages from 2010 to 2016, is the frequent use of derogatory language toward minorities by officers, that she was shown an online video of a white woman calling then-President Barrack Obama the “n-word” and that she was asked to alter arrest data to conceal racial profiling.

There are also less serious allegations such as officers spending time in the dispatch room to watch television and play video poker and midnight parties where officers ate cake and watched the “Cops” parody show, “Reno 911.”

All these assertions appear in a 2017 affidavit Kelly submitted as part of a termination lawsuit filed by former Memorial Villages officer Greg DeFrancesco. Kelly also logged the allegations in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces and administers civil rights lawsuits against workplace discrimination.

Ray Viada, who represented Memorial Villages in the civil lawsuit by DeFrancesco that was dismissed by a Harris County judge in early July, said Kelly is a former employee who left the department in good standing, but that she does not have any strong evidence to support her claims.

“What we’re left with is a ‘he-said-she-said’ situation,” he said. “It’s very easy after the fact to throw around allegations that people are using racially hostile language, but it’s difficult to disprove it.”

Viada said that Memorial Villages has not been contacted by the EEOC about any complaints and said Kelly never filed any official complaints to her supervisors while at the department. Kelly learned recently, though, that the EEOC mistakenly dismissed her original petition because of a computer error and that her case is being reviewed. If the commission deems the complaint worthy, it might then reach out to Memorial Villages as part of an inquiry.

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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