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NY1 Exclusive: NYPD Faces Federal Complaint Over Alleged Discrimination In Intelligence Division

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Detectives in the New York City Police Department's Intelligence Division have filed a federal complaint alleging that white detectives are handpicked for promotions over more qualified black officers. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Black detectives who work for the New York City Police Department's Intelligence Division say there is a so-called "secret list" in the elite unit which details who gets promoted.

They say they are rarely, if ever, on it.

The detectives call that racist. They’ve filed a complaint against the NYPD with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

NY1 exclusively received a copy of that complaint.

It says, "...the NYPD has chosen to cloak promotions in secrecy and give the all-white high level supervisors who run the Intelligence Division unfettered discretion to handpick white detectives for promotions over more qualified African American detectives."

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said complaints of racism in the department are unfair. According to Kelly, since he returned as commissioner 10 years ago, black detectives throughout the NYPD have been promoted in record numbers.

"We have had an 84 percent increase of first grade detectives. We have had a 30 percent increase in second grade detectives, all African Americans," said Kelly.

However, the complaint filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union says that progress does not seem to be reflected in the Intelligence Unit. According to the complaint, of the 600 employees who work for intelligence, only 35 are African American. Out of 161 sergeants, only eight are African American, and out of 224 detectives in the unit, 21 are African American—just 6 percent.

The veteran detectives say they've taken a big financial hit from the lack of promotions.

There's a $30,000 per year difference in salary between a third grade detective and a higher first grade. There's also about $15,000 extra per year in pension payments for detectives who are promoted.

Retired Lieutenant Darrin Speight of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement isn't surprised by the situation.

"It’s a shame that this has to come this, but I think it’s a good way to start the police commissioner to examine this. This has been a problem for years. This is not something new,” said Speight.

The commissioner wouldn't talk specifically about the EEOC complaint but said blacks are moving into higher ranks in the department.

"We’ve had a 31 percent increase above the rank of captain since 2001. We've had a 100 percent increase of lieutenant special assignment," said Kelly.

The commissioner said he's proud of those numbers, but along with this complaint, a civil suit could be on the way.

In response, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne denied the allegations, saying, "There's no 'secret' list. There's a formal review process that measures job performance, years in rank, etc. in which minorities department-wide have fared better than at any other time, in recognition of their meritorious performance." ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP