The assistant police chief in Washington, D.C. says she was told she had to end her pregnancy if she wanted to keep her job. According to FOX 5 DC, Chanel Dickerson, the highest-ranking Black woman police officer in the city, revealed the news on Tuesday (Oct. 19) while addressing members of a community meeting.
“When I was 18-years-old as a police cadet, I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired from the MPD cadet program,” Dickerson said. “Wow. My choice to have a baby was personal, and it should’ve been mine alone and not for an employer ultimatum.”
She later revealed that she chose to focus on her career, but noted that she wasn’t the only woman in the department who was forced to make decisions pertaining to motherhood. Another staff member, she revealed, was mistreated after she requested a change in her shift that would allow her to look after her child.
“I think about how my female colleagues [were treated] when I was promoted to sergeant,” said Dickerson. “And it was another sergeant who was promoted with me and she needed a shift that was conducive to taking care of her child as a single mother. Unfortunately, she had to do things no woman should ever have to do to care for her child.” The assistant police chief didn’t specify the treatment that her coworker had to endure.
Dickerson is one of 10 Black women who filed a lawsuit against D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department last month. The women cops alleged that they were victims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment — which the police chief personally experienced —but they claimed that their complaints were being ignored.
Three additional Black cadets filed a lawsuit this week over retaliation and abuse.
Look below to see Dickerson’s speech.