EEOC settlement calls for Pocomoke to crack down on discrimination

POCOMOKE, Md. – The City of Pocomoke has entered into a consent decree with the Federal Government. That means the city has to formally end any and all discriminatory practices within 120 days.

Former Chief Kelvin Sewell said, “So the consent decree is going to be for everyone who lives in Worcester County. It’s going to make sure everything is done properly and by the books.”

The consent agree is a result of an Equal Employment Opportunity and Commission lawsuit that was filed by former Police Chief Kelvin Sewell, former Lieutenant Lynell Greene and Detective Franklin Savage back in 2016.

Sewell said, “It was a long journey. A lot of people had to pay the price for this right here.”

The EEOC lawsuit claimed all three men faced racial discrimination like racial slurs and much more by other police officers and city officials. Not only were the complaints about discrimination, but also how officials handled the allegations.

In March, the men reached a partial settlement with the city, but Former Chief Sewell says their real victory was entering this agreement.

Sewell said, “The consent decree was very important because it’s going to be able to treat everybody fairly.”

As part of this consent decree, the City of Pocomoke has 120 days to make changes, but were told they’re already taking action.

David Deutsch, the Interim Pocomoke City Manager said, “The police department is already working. They’ve got some in house training, they’re already conducting internal training on the kinds of issues that are highlighted by the decree.”

The new policies will ensure any allegations of discrimination will be thoroughly investigated.

The City of Pocomoke will be monitored by the Federal Government for a period of two years and by the plaintiffs for a period of three years to ensure that they are following the requirements of the decree, but they plan on carrying out the practices outlined by the decree for long beyond that.

Deutsch said, “The training will still be part of our normal process the reporting mechanisms for any concern about potential discrimination will still remain in effect.”

Even though the decree is a huge win for Sewell, he says his fight is long from over. In May, he was once again found guilty of interfering with a hit and run accident that happened back in 2014. Sewell says he plans to once again appeal the courts ruling in early to mid 2020.

Categories: Local News, Maryland