Race and Redemption: Renatta Frazier's Story
Former Illinois Cop Settles Suit Claiming Police Cover-Up
Renatta Frazier, the former Springfield, Ill. police officer whose racial discrimination lawsuit was resolved in April 2004, discusses details of her extraordinary case with NPR’s Tavis Smiley in a special three-day series.
Frazier, now 37 and a wife and mother of five, joined the Springfield Police Department in fall 2000, at a time of high racial tension. Her new job coincided with a lawsuit filed against the city by the local branch of the NAACP to increase minority representation in the police and fire departments.
Frazier, one of 12 African American officers on a police force of about 275 officers, encountered hostility from fellow officers, which escalated to threats against her life. At the police academy, several of Frazier’s fellow cadets were dismissed after they were overheard discussing plans to drag her from the back of a truck as part of an exercise drill.
But it was another scandal -- a rape case gone awry -- that ultimately led to Frazier’s lawsuit, and resulted in the resignation of Springfield’s chief of police and several senior officials.
On Halloween night 2001, Frazier was accused of not following proper procedure while responding to a case -- an alleged rape of a white woman, the daughter of a fellow officer, by two black men. Frazier was placed under investigation and became the subject of public scorn in the small community. Under pressure from the investigation and the public, anonymous threats against her life and depression, Frazier resigned from the police in August 2002.
But one year after the accusations were made against Frazier, a reporter from the Illinois Times, Dusty Rhodes, uncovered new facts that pointed to a police force scandal. The story suggested that some officers had used the alleged rape to frame Frazier in an effort to get her off the police force. She had actually been dispatched to the scene more than an hour after the alleged incident occurred.
Frazier sued the city, but her case went unsettled for more than a year. She and her family were evicted from their apartment without notice and for a time were homeless. In 2004, with a new mayor and growing pressure from concerned citizens, pastors and elected officials, the city of Springfield reached a settlement agreement with Frazier, agreeing to pay her $829,000 in damages, plus Frazier’s attorney’s fees and other undisclosed fees.
She is currently working on a book about her experiences based on detailed journal entries she kept throughout her ordeal.
"I am fascinated -- and disturbed -- by Renatta Frazier's case," said Smiley. "Hers is a story of race, gender, politics, law enforcement, small town politics, hatred, love and homelessness. This is a complex story, and a very human story."
Drama is the result of an attempt
to find wholeness & success
in the midst of forces that have been
birthed in chaos and nurtured in confusion.
-- No More Drama
I hope no-one thinks they get a "full story" about these things by reading a press report. Or let me ask you, do you think this would have gotton such attention if the black female was instead a white male? Would you be so quick to believe the story if "she" was instead a "he" and lilly ass white?
I dont know what happened here with this. And we will never know because this town & Dept will quickly settle it. Even if they are right and she is a screwup they will settle it because shes a BLK female and they dont want the bad publicity. This may be a surprise to some of you but affirmative action has brought a lot of incompetants to the Police service. A police Dept., ANY police Dept., is as phoney and political an organization as you'll ever find.
Case in point. I work with a black female who is the absolute worst police officer Ive ever seen, "and thats saying a lot". She falls asleep all the time and doesnt answer her radio, doesnt show up to her radio assignments, you never see her all night 'which is just as well", dogs her assignments and makes the rest of us work harder, and is always on the sick roll. She is as stupid and lazy an individual as Ive ever seen.
But no-one ever bothers her because shes a black female and all the supervisors are afraid of lawsuites. If it was me I'd be bagging groceries at a supermarket right now. Im just glad I didnt think this job was legit when I joined it, it makes the let down less.
But go ahead and believe what you want......................................Rich