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Marshal Racists Spark
Discrimination rampant among fed cops
By William Sherman and Daniel GoldFarb
New York Post, Sunday, March 16, 1997
The U.S. Marshals Service is riddled with blatant, sometimes
violent racism in its offices in New York and throughout the
country, a Post investigation has found.
The service's biased hiring and promotion practices seem to
be fueling the open bigotry.
Statistics reveal that 264 of the 292 deputy marshals hired
last year were white. They are working for a 3,987 member work
force that is 79% white.
In a series of interviews, black and white deputy marshals
providing chilling details of incident after incident of
on-the-job discrimination they've either faced or witnessed.
Their accounts of bias at work included:
- White deputies setting up black deputies for
beatings by prison inmates.
- White deputies failing to provide backup for
black deputies making dangerous arrests.
- White deputies using Martin Luther King's
picture for target practice during an annual
firearms qualification test.
- A white deputy terrorizing black female
deputies by running through the marshal's office
dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Having defaced and obscene autopsy photos of a
7 year old black murder victim placed on the
desks of two deputies who where partners -- one
white, the other black.
The white deputy, who is assigned to the service's Manhattan
office, said he has been ostracized at work as a "nigger
lover" and was beaten by a white colleague for supporting
his black partner's discrimination complaints.
Examples of systemic bias and glaring acts of discrimination
are included in a series of equal-opportunity complaints and
federal suits filed in the last few years.
Most include allegations that those who file complaints
suffer immediate retaliation.
In one pending suit, Ruth Worsely, a supervisory deputy
marshal in New Jersey, charges she was assigned "to perform
primarily secretarial and administrative duties" because she
is black -- despite her high-ranking position.
Worsely, who joined the service in 1979 and worked her way up
through the ranks, says he has been continually humiliated on the
She says she has been forced to use the same restroom as male
deputies, has been excluded from supervisory staff meetings, and
has been prevented from using the official car assigned to her.
The most shocking complaint in her suit was an account of the
day a white deputy appeared in the Newark office in a white sheet
and meanaced a snumber of black female employees.
One of those terrorized by the hateful KKK-like display was
Joan Cobbs, a 55-year-old seizure and forfeiture specialist. She
was so upset and intimidated that she quit the service.
The white deputy was not disciplined. Instead, he was
transferred to his home state of Ohio - as he had requested.
I'm going to win this lawsuit and get my rights", said
Worsley, 54. She said she has no intention of quitting her job.
Arthur Lloyd, a black deputy marshal who works in Washington,
D.C. , claims he's been the target of life-threatening racism.
Lloyd said white deputies took immediate revenge on him after he
filed a discrimination complaint contending he had been denied a
promotion due him. "I was in a cellblock taking handcuffs
off of prisoners who were ringleaders in a prison riot when a
white supervisor locked me in the cell," he said. "All
the white deputies had left and I came very close to getting
killed. They locked me in there for 30 minutes and the only
reason I got out was because they had to bring in the prisoners'
lunch wagon and unlocked the door."
Another black deputy marshal, Matthew Fogg, described how his
white colleagues on the fugitive task force left him to fend for
himself while he was making a particularly dangerous arrest.
"This guy, a major drug dealer, Michael Lucas, was doing
20-to-life for murder and he escaped from prison in Texas,"
said Fogg, who has helped nab more than 270 fugitives since
joining the service in 1978. "Lucas was one of the top 15
fugitives in the country, and we tracked him down. He pulled a
gun on me, but I wrestled him down. The white deputies knew when
the bust was coming, but in the end, where were they? They left
In 1991, Fogg won the service's highest honor, the Director's
Honorary Award, for his leadership on the task force.
In a discrimination complaint, Fogg alleges that he's
suffered "substantial racial bias." He states he has
been denied promotions, and after he complained, was assigned to
a "dead-end" desk job. "They forced me out of the
service," said Fogg, who claims that superiors threatened
him with further retailiation if he didn't drop his complaint.
"The stress got too much for me and I filed a Workers'
Compensation Board claim -- 'stress-related disorder caused by
discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.'" The board
upheld Fogg's claim.
After some time passed, his superiors forced Fogg back to
work. When he and his physician said he was not ready, he was
dismissed from the service for insubordination -- despite the
workers' comp ruling.
Fogg's discrimination suit against the service -- in which he
seeks more than $1 million in damages -- is scheduled to go to
trial in Federal court in Washington in May. Fogg said he
is also organizing a minority class-action suit against the
Another black marshal, Vincent Johnson, claims his troubles
as a deputy began because he was doing so well. "I was one
of three blacks from around the country picked to attend Special
Operations Group School, that's the Marshal's equivalent of a
SWAT team. There were 40 whites in my class," said Johnson.
He claimed the white instructors "constantly ridiculed"
the blacks and drummed the two other blacks out of the school.
"I wasn't fazed because I was a paratrooper with the 82nd
Airborne Division, honorably discharged, but when I complained
about the other blacks in the class getting kicked out for no
reason, the next day I was thrown out." It was four days
before graduation, from the eight-week school, said Johnson.
He added that when he returned to headquarters, "they
trumped up some stuff about my original application to the
service and fired me. I couldn't understand it. All my test
scores were in the top 5 percent."
That was nine years ago. Johnson's discrimination complaint
has still not be resolved. After he left the service, he joined
the State Department's diplomatic security corps, and is now a
special agent for the Pennsylvania attorney general, specializing
in narcotics investigations.
William Dempsey, a service spokesman, refused to comment on
any of these cases. He said the agency does not comment on
individual employee complaints or lawsuits. But he noted that
since Eduardo Gonzalez was appointed head of the service by
President Clinton in 1993, the number of discrimination and
sexual-harassment complaints filed by agency employees has
dropped from 125 to 66.
Dempsey added that the service is taking other steps to
alleviate various imbalances in the system. But at the same time,
said Dempsey, "The service is not acknowledging that any
mistakes were made."