According to the assistant police chief in Washington, D.C., she was advised that if she wanted to keep her job, she needed to terminate her pregnancy. Chanel Dickerson, the city’s highest-ranking Black woman police officer, broke the news to participants of a community meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 19), according to FOX 5 DC.
“I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired from the MPD cadet program when I was 18 years old,” Dickerson claimed. “Wow. My decision to have a child was personal, and it should have been mine alone, not dictated by an employer.”
She later claimed that she opted to focus on her work over parenting, but that she wasn’t the only woman in the department who had to make such decisions. She also reported that another employee was treated unfairly after she requested a shift change to care for her child.
“When I was promoted to sergeant, I thought about how my female coworkers were handled,” Dickerson recalled. “And another sergeant was promoted at the same time as me, and she required a shift that would allow her to care for her child as a single mother.” Unfortunately, in order to care for her child, she had to do things that no woman should ever have to do.” The assistant police chief did not elaborate on the treatment her coworker received.
Dickerson is one of ten Black women who sued the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., last month. The female cops said that they had been victims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment, which the police chief had himself experienced, but that their complaints had gone unheard.
This week, three more Black cadets filed a lawsuit alleging retaliation and mistreatment.
The police department stated that they are “dedicated to treating all individuals fairly and equitably throughout our organization,” and that they are investigating the complaints.
Dickerson’s speech is embedded below.
“I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired.”
DC Asst Chief Chanel Dickerson shared a deeply personal, disturbing account of what she experienced as a police cadet. She went on to describe a fellow Sgt who “had to do things no woman should ever have to do.” 1/2 @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/UPIwG5fi5n
— Lindsay Watts (@LindsayAWatts) October 20, 2021