Who: Eight African American Boston cops
The claim: The Boston PD’s current testing of hair strands to detect drug use violates the plaintiffs’ civil rights and constitutes racial discrimination because the hair texture and hair care products used by black people tend to produce false positive results of cocaine in the system. One of the plaintiffs took another independent test which had negative results, which the PD rejected.
Says Psychemedics Corp. (interpretor of the test) Vice President and General Counsel William Thistle: “People do not spontaneously create cocaine in their urine, blood or hair,” He added that the assays have been verified by tens of thousands of test results that show no bias based on race.
None of the plaintiffs signed the BPD’s rehabilitation agreement and were thereupon discharged. The plaintiffs chose not to sign claiming that the agreement required admission of illegal drug use, drug treatment, placement in an administrative position and submission to follow-up random drug testing for three years after the positive results.
What the plaintiffs are asking for: 1) Reinstatement with back pay 2) front pay 3) all benefits and seniority ranking 4) compensatory and punitive damages 5) a declaration that the BPD’s drug-testing policies violate the Massachusetts and U.S. constitutions and a permanent injunction barring the use of the hair test and any other procedures that are racially biased.
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