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Sixteen Latino police officers announced Wednesday they have filed a lawsuit against the Denver Police Department alleging wide-range discrimination.
In February 2006, the Colorado chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) filed a formal complaint arguing, among others, racial discrimination, disciplinary issues and promoting hostile work environments against Latinos.
"To date there has been little progress to correct these practices," said Leonard Mares, vice president and EEO chairman of the NLPOA Colorado chapter.
"Our complaints of discrimination are given little attention or simply ignored. Based on the ongoing discriminatory practices…we filed a federal lawsuit."
During a news conference Wednesday, the NLPOA played a small portion of audio from a training video, which the association called "shocking and graphic" and "further demonstrates both the historical presence of discriminatory practices and hostile work environment that officers are subjected to on a regular basis."
The Denver Police Department denied that it discriminated or retaliated against any employees, saying, "The Police Department works hard to foster an environment of diversity and tolerance, treat its employees fairly and without bias, and follow its policies and practices of non-discrimination and non-retaliation."
In a statement, spokesman Lt. Ronald R. Saunier said the Department disagrees with the allegations and will "vigorously defend against any and all legal actions filed."
Saunier said they were aware of the NLPOA complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and that 13 of 35 charges of discrimination were dismissed by the EEOC.
"Most importantly, there has not been a single charge in which the EEOC has found probable cause that the city discriminated, harassed, or retaliated against any of the charging parties," he said.

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