Black Officer Disciplined For Wearing Bantu Knots On Duty, Lawsuit Says

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A Black police officer in Maplewood, New Jersey is suing her boss and the township after she was disciplined for wearing Bantu knots, NBC News reports.

Officer Chian Weekes-Rivera said she received an internal affairs complaint informing her that she violated the police department's on-duty dress code days after she wore Bantu knots, a traditional African hairstyle, to work in August.

Weekes-Rivera filed a lawsuit last week, accusing defendants of violating the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination of hair texture, type, and style.

The 10-year police veteran said her sergeants were also disciplined for "failure to supervise," referring to them not ordering Weekes-River to change her hairstyle.

According to the lawsuit, Weekes-Rivera was disciplined after she was featured in a 2021 township video highlighting diversity in the police department.

The lawsuit names the township and Police Capt. Peter Kuenzel as defendants. Weekes-Rivera is requesting both parties comply with the CROWN Act and produce copies of policies on officers' hairstyles and complaints about her hair.

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