Two WA Women Police Officers Sue Police Department for Discrimination
Arin Reining and Nina Murphy, two women police officers who worked for the Sumner, Washington Police Department, have filed a federal lawsuit against the Department, alleging that they were discriminated against because of their sex, and faced retaliation when they complained about it. The women also allege that Sumner’s chief, Benjamin Reisz, particularly singled them out for discipline, and told one of the women that she would never be promoted because a high-ranking woman would embarrass the department. In court documents, their allegations are supported by a male Sumner sergeant who agreed that the women were treated differently than their male counterparts, and by a former Sumner Police administrative supervisor who quit because of the Department’s hostile environment for women. The Department alleges that the women’s claims are false and that a private investigator who was hired to investigate the situation found no grounds to support the women’s accusations. Attorneys for Reining and Murphy, however, say that the manner the investigation was conducted in was ill conceived because it considered each woman’s complaint separately instead of looking at the Department’s systemic practice of discrimination. Arin Reining has since resigned from the Department, and is now a sheriff’s deputy with the Benton County Sheriff’s Department. Nina Murphy remains on at Sumner as their only female officer. To prevent problems like discrimination that keep women out of policing, the National Center has created the Self-Assessment Guide for Law Enforcement, which provides agencies with step-by-step approaches for insuring a positive environment for women employees. The Guide is available for free through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
Media Resources: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 08/08/02