Settlement reached in racial discrimination lawsuit against Eastern Shore police

Attorneys with the ACLU say two former police officers who alleged officials on Maryland’s Eastern Shore used racial slurs and discriminated against them have reached a $650,000 settlement in their federal case.

In a news release, lawyers representing three former Pocomoke City police officers wrote they will also ask the court to enforce a consent decree “mandating reform of race discrimination policies and procedures” in the Pocomoke City Police Department.


Pocomoke City’s attorney Daniel Karp could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

The department made national news after the department’s former police chief, Kelvin Sewell, was fired in July 2015, confusing many in the community.

It would later come out that former officers Lynell Green and Franklin Savage had filed complaints of racial discrimination, alleging that other police officers and town officials repeatedly used racial slurs, superimposed Barack Obama’s face on a food stamp and discussed lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan.

Sewell, who now works for the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, was fired by Pocomoke City Council and the chief alleged that it was because he would not terminate Green and Savage. The two would later be fired after Sewell’s departure.

The three filed suit against the department and the city in 2016.

Later that year, Sewell was found guilty of misconduct in office after being accused of hindering the investigation of a motor vehicle crash for the benefit of a corrections officer. Court records show he has appealed the ruling.

In a statement, the three’s attorneys wrote that the consent decree that will be entered in court will require training to prevent racial discrimination for police and town officials and will be enforceable by the judge overseeing the case.

“Today’s court filing marks an important step toward vindicating the rights of these three courageous men,” wrote Deborah Jeon, Legal Director of the ACLU of Maryland.

The damages settlement will go toward resolving the suits on behalf of Sewell and Green, while the ACLU said Savage’s claim has not been resolved.

Savage alleged that former Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby repeatedly said racial slurs for blacks while reading from a letter to be used as evidence for a case, the Associated Press reported last year.

Baltimore Sun reporter Lillian Reed contributed to this article.