African-American Community Reacts to Dover PD Deputy Chief Situa - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

African-American Community Reacts to Dover PD Deputy Chief Situation

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - During the past year, the Dover Police Department has faced multiple allegations from the city's African-American community of racism and brutality. The department got a new chief in April - Paul Bernat.

When he announced then-Lt. Martin Mailey would be deputy chief, Bernat was asked about what that might mean for relations with the African-American community.

"It's definitely not going to hurt," Bernat said in March. "That is not why I think he is here - if that's the question you are asking me."

Five high-ranking, non-African-American officers say race was the reason Mailey was chosen as deputy chief. Those officers filed equal employment grievances claiming they had been passed over for promotion based on race.

The city this week settled those grievances to the tune of a combined $300,000.

Now Dover's African-American community is reacting to the settlement and the grievances themselves.

Bishop GE Gordon is the head of My Brethren Ministries and a leader in Dover's African-American community. Gordon says having an African-American as second in command at Dover PD is meaningful when it comes to race relations.

"I believe he will be a viable part of the police department in fixing the problems that are here," Gordon said. "Put in the person who is qualified to best diffuse the situation, not a person who is going to erupt the situation. He has those qualities."

"From a community standpoint, it was a step in the right direction," said Lamar Gunn. "If someone was looked over based on color, do I find that's right? Of course not. But at the same time, the tension in the community, the view of the police department is not good."

Gunn isn't a fan of how much money was given to the five complaining officers. And he is not a fan of how quickly the grievances were settled.

"Usually an EEOC or some type of discrimination case is a process," he said. "It's never a month or two months or even six months. The fact that this happened so fast leaves me with several questions."

"I think paying off to appease - I don't think that's right," said Gordon. "I think the decision they made in the first place was a great decision. I think to take it back now is another slap in the face to the African-American community."

Gordon says he hopes the police department can move in positive direction from here and that Deputy Chief Mailey is given the opportunity to prove his was more than a token appointment based on race.

The police department is not commenting on the allegations or settlement.

WBOC called Acting Mayor and City Council President Dave Bonar for comment but didn't hear back. Wednesday he said the settlement was the quickest, and potentially least expensive, way to put all this behind the city.

Late Thursday afternoon, WBOC obtained the actual grievances from the five officers involved. Click the links below to read them.
Grievance 1
Grievance 2
Grievance 3
Grievance 4
Grievance 5
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