The Justice Department accused the Baltimore County police department of engaging in a pattern of “discrimination against African American applicants” for entry-level positions in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, The Baltimore Sun reports. The lawsuit focuses on the police department’s written exam for applicants, which the DOJ says has seen white applicants pass at a higher rate than African Americans. The Justice Department has said some of the skills tested on the exam—which tests for reading, grammar, logic, and other skills—are not job-related. The lawsuit asks the department to cease using the exam. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Maryland, also asks police to provide relief to those injured by the discrimination and to “correct the present effects of its discriminatory policies and practices” with other policies.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. told the Sun the department has discontinued the use of the exam. “A law enforcement agency should look like the community it serves,” Olszewski said in a statement. “As I have said repeatedly since taking office, I am committed to increasing diversity in the county’s Police Department.” He also said Police Chief Melissa Hyatt would work with him to take “concrete steps forward” toward diversification. Police department officials declined to comment.