Good Afternoon Honorable Congress-members, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and staff. My name is John P. Sutton and I am a resident and domiciliary of the State of Michigan. I am a retired Special Agent of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration having ascertained the rank of Special Agent-in-Charge of the St. Louis, Missouri Field Division. I retired in August 1994. I have served our great nation in public service for twenty-eight years. I am honored to serve my country. However, I am sad to speak today on the practice of some members of our federal government. That practice is unlawful discrimination against our most precious resource -- our great federal workforce.

I have been given the honor of speaking on behalf of our association, BLACK SPECIAL AGENTS AGAINST INJUSTICE (BSAAI). Our organization is comprised of current, and former Special Agents of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Our association also includes applicants who are seeking employment with DEA.

Our organization, Honorable Congress-Member, to oppose the systemic pattern and practices of unlawful employment discrimination against our members individually and as a class based on our race (African-American), color (Black), retaliation and reprisal because we have and always will -- stand up for and speak up for truth and justice for all people.

Respecting your time parameters, Honorable Congress-members, may I -- on behalf of all of the adversely affected impacted Special Agents -- please share with you, your fellow Congress members and our fellow citizens some of the practices and policies which we believe are contrary to the letter and spirit of the civil rights laws enacted by this great body.

Black Special Agents Against Injustice (B.S.A.A.I.)

1.    In 1982, in a class action of African American Special Agents against the U.S. Attorney General in the United States District Court (District of Columbia), the Honorable Judge Aubrey Robinson ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had discriminated against the Plaintiffs on the basis of their race: African American.

2.    Judge Robinson issued an order that DEA cease discriminating against its Black Special Agents. To this date, that Order has been all but ignored.

3.    The discrimination faced today by Black Special Agents is now more pervasive and more egregious than at anytime before.

4.    A number of African Americans have previously cried out for help from their Congressional Representatives. Their cries have failed on deaf ears.

5.    When Congressman, Honorable William Clay, was Chairman of the Postal Employees and Civil Service Committee, his Committee held hearings on employment patterns and practices against federal employees. Honorable Clay’s Committee discussed widespread discrimination throughout the federal government. That discrimination was bad. Today, the discrimination has increased to a level of being absolutely horrible!

6.    Many Black employees, specifically in DEA, believe -- since Congressman Clay’s hearings -- that there has not been any meaningful hearings regarding employment discrimination in the federal government. Respectfully, may I inform this honorable group, that discrimination in federal employment in general and in DEA specifically, is as bad today as it was in the days of Jim Crow. Our situation is an embarrassment to the American flag!

7.    Currently, based on our information, DEA willfully discriminates and retaliates against its employees on the basis of race! It also appears that DEA abuses the federal Grand Jury process to promote employment discrimination.

8.    This matter (Grand Jury abuse) has been brought to the attention of Attorney General Janet Reno and Inspector General Michael Bromwich. It is believed that the investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is being whitewashed.

9.    We have evidence which strongly suggests that DOJ’s OPR manufactures, concocts, and contrives false charges against Black Special Agents, Technical Employees and other Black Employees as part of its practice to unlawfully discriminate and retaliate against its employees.

10.    The hostile work environment DEA maintains is illustrated in the example of a supervisory white DEA Special Agent willfully, while under the influence of alcohol at a social function, slapped (assaulted) a Black Special Agent. This example is by no means an isolated occasion.

11.    In its hiring process, DEA uses overt and covert discriminatory practices against Black applicants which are violations of federal law.


1.    Request the CBC to press for hearings on employment abuses.

2.    Strength the federal civil rights laws to authorize corrective action against alleged federal discriminatory officials.

3.    Determine how, if at all, federal agencies hold their respective agency’s accountable for enforcement of the civil rights laws.

4.    Establish responsible watch agencies.