Don’t miss Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard guest bartend at the first Brews & O’s event June 10th. Get your tickets today!

Fire department sued over alleged racial discrimination

The chief in charge of recruiting Baltimore firefighters filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Fire Department and the city over what he claims are racially discriminatory employment practices.

Lloyd Carter, who has been deputy chief for recruitment since the end of July, alleges in a document filed Monday that he has been passed over for promotions several times — most recently last month — and has been the subject of unfounded internal investigations because of his race. Carter, who is black, is requesting $3 million in damages.

Fire Chief James S. Clack said that he first heard of the suit Friday and had not spoken to Carter about it. The complaint had not been served on the department by midafternoon, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a department spokesman.

City Solicitor George Nilson said Friday that Carter's complaint had not been served on the city. Since he had not seen the filing, he said, he was unable to comment on it.

Before being appointed the head of recruiting, Carter was the deputy chief of education and training, and oversaw the city's fire academy. Much of his complaint is based on fallout from an incident in June, when an instructor at the academy provided confidential test questions to students.

Shortly after the problem arose, Carter was moved into a new position.

"Clack removed Carter from his position without any warning or advance notice, and transferred him to a newly created position of Deputy Chief for Recruitment," the complaint reads. "The position did not exist. It did not have any duties or responsibilities."

At the time, Clack told The Baltimore Sun that Carter was not transferred because of the testing scandal, though the investigation had revealed other concerns about the academy.

"It's becoming obvious that some of the folks that worked for [Carter] cut corners and did some things that they shouldn't have been doing," Clack said in late July.

In addition to being transferred last summer into a newly created position — the second time this had happened during Carter's nearly 30-year career in the department — Carter alleges that the June testing scandal revealed misdeeds by a white officer that went ignored by the department.

The court filing also alleges that Carter was passed over for the position of fire chief in 2008 in favor of Clack — who is white and was hired from outside the department — and that he was the subject of several internal investigations based on anonymous complaints.

Reached by phone, Carter said he is still working in the Fire Department. Carter refrained from commenting further until he conferred with his attorney, Neal Janey, who said Friday that he expected the suit to be served on the defendants next week.

In October, members of the Vulcan Blazers, which advocates for black firefighters, demanded a federal investigation into racism in the department.

Carter is a past president of the Vulcan Blazers and was among those who wanted the Justice Department to investigate Baltimore's Fire Department. He told The Baltimore Sun this fall that the department "is just dominated by white males" and that Clack has not done enough to augment the department's hiring of black firefighters.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad