The Hempstead Village mayor and the president of the NAACP New York State Conference are to meet on Aug. 29 after a black detective alleged that the village has not promoted him and another black officer because of their race, officials said.
Det. Steven Wilson Jr. said earlier this month that the village police department has not moved to promote him or a fellow officer, Raquel Spry-Dacres, even though they are the top two names on a promotion list for sergeants based on an exam they took in 2013. That promotion list is set to expire in November, and the following list has five white officers in the top slots.
The NAACP and the 100 Coalition, a group of local clergy, have accused the village of racism and discrimination and said they believe officials want the “clock to run out” on the current list.
Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP’s New York State Conference, said the meeting is to be held with Mayor Don Ryan at 11 a.m. at Village Hall. Officials said it is not open to the public.
“I want to hear both sides,” Dukes said. “This is a fact-finding meeting with him.”
“The Village looks forward to the upcoming meeting with Dr. Dukes and expects more details will emerge following that meeting and as this entire process further unfolds,” a village spokesman said in a statement.
Although the village has been the subject of two lawsuits alleging racial discrimination within the police department in recent years and a noose was found hanging in the department’s men’s locker room a decade ago, the force currently has 60 minority officers among its nearly 130 cops. Nine of the 20 supervisors below the rank of chief are minorities, and eight of them were promoted during Chief Michael McGowan’s tenure, he has said. According to 2010 census figures, 48.3 percent of the village’s population is black and 44.2 percent is Hispanic or Latino.
Ryan was elected mayor in March after serving as a village trustee since 2001. “Any accusations of discrimination in our police department are unfounded,” he said in a previous statement.
Wilson and a member of the 100 Coalition could not be reached for comment.