Ex-Metro policeman files discrimination lawsuit

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Local,Transportation,Liz Essley

Metro transit police pulled a woman out of her wheelchair, kicked a handcuffed suspect in the head, impersonated a DEA agent and laid on top of a woman while arresting her, a former Metro transit police lieutenant charged in a discrimination lawsuit.

The legal case, filed in U.S. District Court by a 21-year veteran of Metro's police force, David Mann, said Metro police got off with light punishments and weren't fired for grave misdeeds because they were white or Asian.

Three officers pulled a woman out of a wheelchair, dragged her across a station floor and lied about it later, according to Mann's suit. The woman was trying to plug her wheelchair in at the time and was told to leave the station but refused, the lawsuit said. The three officers were suspended.

Two other officers handcuffed a suspect and then kicked him in the head. Only one officer was suspended, the suit said.

The court document described a transit police force that repeatedly abused Metro customers and often faced minimal discipline for those misdeeds.

One officer was found guilty of assaulting several people with a shotgun while off-duty but was given only an 11-day suspension, according to the lawsuit. Another officer laid on top of a woman he was arresting, but wasn't disciplined, it charged.

One officer was stopped by a police officer in New Jersey and said he was a DEA agent. He was suspended. A sergeant pepper-sprayed another officer on a midnight shift. The sergeant was demoted but reinstated only six months later, according to the suit.

Mann said he was fired from Metro after hitting and using pepper spray on a suspect who was resisting arrest. His lawsuit claimed he was fired because he was black; white officers committing misdeeds were let off the hook, he said. Metro refused to comment on the lawsuit, which was first reported in the Washington City Paper.

Mann also said Metro pressured Maryland authorities to prosecute him for the pepper-spraying incident. Mann is charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office, and will go before a judge next month, according to Maryland court documents.

He did not answer a cellphone listed for him Wednesday.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner