The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday sided with Pocomoke City's former police chief and two other black officers alleging race discrimination, filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit they brought.

The motion seeks a court order that requires Pocomoke City to ensure its workplace is free of discrimination and retaliatory conduct. The motion also seeks monetary relief for the three plaintiffs.


Former police chief Kelvin Sewell, former officer Franklin Savage, and former Lt. Lynell Green filed the suit in January. They allege that Pocomoke city government, the Worcester County Sheriff's Office and the state of Maryland created a hostile work environment based on race, and retaliation.

The U.S. Justice Department repeated the plaintiffs' allegations of discrimination and retaliation in its motion.

Sewell was Pocomoke City's first black police chief when he was appointed in 2011. He was fired last year.

Sewell and Green were indicted on one count each of conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and misconduct in office. The indictments stem from a November 2014 incident in which prosecutors allege that Sewell and Green interfered with the investigation of a car crash to benefit a local corrections officer.

Sewell was hired by the Baltimore state's attorney's office in March as a contract employee to investigate felony, homicide and violent crime cases, and to help locate and interview witnesses.

Their cases are pending, according to court records.

Lawyer Daniel Karp, who represents Worcester County and Pocomoke City, did not immediately respond to an email and voicemail seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report