A trailblazing Black police detective has filed a $10 million claim against the Seattle Police Department, alleging she witnessed and suffered racism and sexism during her 43 years on the force.
Detective Denis "Cookie" Bouldin, 67, claims she endured daily discrimination for decades in the department, where her co-workers questioned her loyalty due to Bouldin's close ties to Seattle's communities of color, according to The Seattle Times.
James Bible, Bouldin's lawyer and a former chair of the King County NAACP, filed the tort claim on Friday (March 17). The city has 60 days to respond, and if they deny the claim, Bouldin can file a lawsuit.
“She files this claim for damages in hopes that the department will authentically address issues related to the racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination she has faced in her career,” according to the claim. “She notes that the hostile work environment she has been subjected to has increased dramatically in recent years.”
The document accused Bouldin's white supervisors of making racist remarks at her and ordering the veteran cop to do "humiliating" menial tasks. Other alleged instances include officers refusing to offer her back up, and a white sergeant making it "clear that she did not want to work with any Black people." When Bouldin once complained about a co-worker bringing their pet dog to the office, feces and dog food were left at her locker, according to the claim.
Bouldin built a sterling reputation in the community for building bridges between citizens and the police department. Reporters said she ran a youth chess club, help keep young people out of jail, and provided snacks, earning her the nickname Detective "Cookie." A Rainier Beach park was named after her in June 2022.
“The Department regularly points to Detective Bouldin’s strong relationship with the communities of color whenever there is controversy in relation to a Seattle Police action,” the claim alleges. “Behind the scenes, other officers and supervisors have belittled Detective Bouldin and challenged whether she is with the Department or with the community.”
The Seattle Times reached out to SPD for comment and was directed to the city's Attorney's Office. Prosecutors said they didn't see the claim and declined to comment.
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