CINCINNATI -- Accusations made by a pair of white police officers are "inaccurate and inflammatory," according to the Sentinel Police Association.
The Sentinels released the statement Monday in response to the lawsuit filed by Officer Tamera Brown and Specialist Joy Ludgatis last week which claims the police department favors black officers over whites through "unconstitutional race-based" policies in hiring, promotions, discipline and conferring benefits, as well as a "double standard" that "condones misconduct for certain officers that would subject others to discipline."
The group, which describes itself as "a civil rights organization that advocates for equal opportunity within the Cincinnati Police Department," said that they have worked with the city and the police union "to overcome the history of discrimination, racism, and sexism that has denied blacks and women equal opportunity in the sworn ranks."
The lawsuit specifically targets a 1980 federal consent degree and a 1987 local consent decree that settled complaints of unlawful discrimination in hiring and promoting blacks and women in the department. The suit names the Sentinels among the defendants.
The Sentinels said Monday that the lawsuit seeks "to undermine the consent decrees and take us back to the days of white supremacy and oppression." They also said they "will not let this city retreat to Jim Crow employment rules inequality and retaliation."
The lawsuit also singles out Lt. Danita Pettis. Brown and Ludgatis claim she is "a vindictive, openly racist police officer who is unfit and lacks the character and integrity to serve as a police officer."
The Sentinels called that unfair and said the claims seek "to perpetuate the false narrative that Black women in positions of power are unqualified, angry, aggressive, and dishonest."
In the statement, the group also invited Brown, Ludgatis the Fraternal Order of Police and the city administration to work with them "on the ongoing efforts to promote and ensure diversity" in the department.
The Sentinels will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon.