Latina Former U.S. Marine Pass Over By Boston Police

Employment, Police Accountability

While Claiming to Value Diversity, Boston Police Department Continues to Bypass Qualified Applicants of Color

Latina Former U.S. Marine Arbitrarily Passed Over for Hire

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) has filed an appeal with the Civil Service Commission on behalf of our client, Gladys Mueller, a Latinx former U.S. Marine, single mother of three, and small business owner who the Boston Police Department (BPD) bypassed for the position of police officer.  Ms. Mueller’s bypass continues a long and unfortunate trend, in which BPD publicly proclaims its commitment to diversity, yet consistently passes on qualified candidates of color.

LCR has long advocated for greater diversity in BPD to help ensure that it is reflective of and accountable to communities of color. Despite the City pledging a commitment to diversify the force, we continue to see many applicants of color for the position of police officer “bypassed ”— namely, removed by BPD from the civil service list in favor of lower-ranking candidates — in an arbitrary manner. In Ms. Mueller’s case, BPD claimed that she failed to submit medical records, when in fact she did, and referred to vague “inconsistencies” relative to her “history and decision making.” On this basis, they removed her from the civil service list entirely, in favor of a lower-ranking candidate.

“The type of arbitrary and subjective bypass that characterizes Ms. Mueller’s case runs throughout BPD’s employment practices,” said Janelle Dempsey, an attorney at LCR. Attorney Dempsey noted that the BPD’s disparate manner of recruitment, hiring, promotion, and discipline is unfortunately not new. In 2020, LCR won a similar Civil Service Commission Appeal after BPD illegally bypassed a Black man and Roxbury native due to a single, stale incident report created nearly 20 years prior. In 2015, LCR received another favorable decision in a disparate discipline case before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) where BPD was found to discriminate against recruits of color in its disciplinary practices. 

BPD remains nearly 64% white and nearly 73% male. In an era where communities are demanding police reform that results in more equitable policing to communities of color, it is more critical than ever that police departments reflect the diverse communities they serve.

“As a Marine Corps Veteran and Boston resident, I am incredibly disappointed that BPD does not do more to fulfill its commitment to hiring more officers of color, particularly veterans of color,” said Ms. Mueller.    

“It is unacceptable that in a city as diverse as Boston, BPD has failed to rectify its longstanding lack of diversity, which has continued under Commissioner William Gross. Lawyers for Civil Rights will continue to hold the City of Boston and BPD leadership accountable until our public safety agencies reflect the demographics of our communities,” added Attorney Dempsey.