Acting San Francisco Police Department Captain Yulanda Williams is fighting back after enduring years of attempts to sideline her career. This week, the San Fran native filed a $2.5 million dollar lawsuit against the city and higher-ups at the police department and its union, the Police Officers Association.
According to Williams, she was targeted for calling out racism at the department where she’s served as a cop for nearly 30 years. In 2011, the longtime president of the Officers of Justice, an organization for Black SFPD officers, found herself at the center of a text scandal that revealed a number of officers at the department were exchanging racist, sexist and hateful messages about her. Williams called out the behavior and publicly said that overt racism ran rampant within the department.
Mission Local spoke to Williams after the lawsuit was filed. She said, “On the record, I can say that as a whistleblower, I deserved to be protected.” Her attorney added that the suit was necessary because the department was continuing to violate his client’s rights and that there was the presence of “harassment that never seems to end.”
Within the lawsuit, instance after instance of racist behavior is detailed. Most of the events outlined occur between March 2015 and April 2019, well after Williams openly asserted the issues within the department. Beyond daily interactions, the veteran officer says she is being attacked on blogs and Facebook pages and has been reprimanded for speaking honestly about the abuse she’s forced to endure.
Williams’ suit outlines 11 different causes of action, including race-based harassment, age discrimination, sex/gender harassment and discrimination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.