The Harvard University Police Department passed over a black officer for a number of promotions and superiors routinely made racist remarks about blacks and Latinos, according to a federal lawsuit.
The complaint by Officer George Pierce, a veteran patrolman who is black, said he applied for open sergeant positions a number of times only to be passed over for less-qualified, non-black employees. The reason Pierce didn’t get promoted was his race, the lawsuit alleged, citing various instances when Pierce sought a sergeant spot but was turned down.
“Throughout Pierce’s employment at Harvard, Harvard and the department have created and maintained a pervasive racially-biased environment within the department” the lawsuit said.
The complaint also alleges that Pierce had to endure supervisory officers making racial comments about blacks dominating sports and a derogatory slur describing a Latino police officer.
The suit, which was filed late last month in U.S. District Court in Boston, seeks unspecified damages.
Kevin Galvin, a Harvard spokesman, said the school doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Pierce has worked as a Harvard patrol officer since 2002 and is a former police officer in the town of Arlington.