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2 Black female police officers sue KC Board of Police Commissioners

Posted at 5:14 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 18:14:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two Black female police officers with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department are individually suing the Kansas City Board of Police Comissioners for discrimination and harassment.

Alexis Bush-Bailey, an officer with the department for over 23 years, who was involved in the Drug and Resistance Education program, is suing the department for age, race and sex discrimination as well as retaliation and hostile work environment in violation with the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Rashawnda Williams is suing for sex discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment.

Bush-Bailey claims discrimination for unequal treatment to other white male and female D.A.R.E. officers, which resulted in her being forced from the D.A.R.E unit and pushed into a patrol job in March 2022. She seeks relief for damages as a result.

The lawsuit claims examples, including Bush-Bailey being punished by her supervisor Sgt. Katherine Coots, while other officers did not receive the same penalty. The lawsuit also claims that Coots often communicated to Bush-Bailey through another officer, and that Coots punished Bush-Bailey for teaching classes in Raytown that she had approved.

The lawsuit also claims that a younger, white male officer was made acting sergeant in Coots' absence despite Bush-Bailey having more experience, in addition to other grievances.

In May 2021, Bush-Bailey submitted a request to investigate into Coots for harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Coots actions were not found to violate KCPD's policies.

Bush-Bailey says she contacted the human resources department but did not hear back and that Coots' chain of command was made aware of the instances cited in the lawsuit and allowed the "harassment, discrimination and retaliation" to continue.

Williams, an officer in the Police Athletic League, claims that misogynistic and racial comments were common in the workplace once another officer joined PAL, including sexual and sexist conversation.

Williams says that "mischaracterizations, mistruths and lies" regarding her work performance resulted in her removal from the PAL program, the lawsuit says. She was not believed during a grievance hearing.

Court documents claim that non-female officers were more favorably treated than Williams based on the circumstances and that she was harassed because of her gender.