White Delaware Police Captain Cries Racial Discrimination After Black Officer Is Promoted to Police Chief Instead of Him

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A Delaware police captain claims he was passed over for a promotion to police chief because of his race. Now he’s suing for discrimination.

Dover Police Capt. David Spicer, who’s white, filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 16 after his discrimination and retaliation complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was dismissed this summer, local station WBOC-TV reported. The motion also included a right to sue.

The suit names several defendants, including the city of Dover, which Spicer alleges wrongfully discriminated against him when it promoted former Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey, who’s Black, to police chief in 2017 instead of him.

Mailey has since retired, and a search for his replacement is underway, according to the outlet.

In his complaint, Spicer argues he was better qualified than Mailey and that he had more education, experience and training. The cop also pointed to his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and his master’s in administration of justice.

“Plaintiff was more qualified than Marvin Mailey for the Chief of Police Position,” the lawsuit reads, alleging Mailey doesn’t hold any degrees and was only selected for the role because he’s African-American. However, a search of Mailey’s LinkedIn profile shows earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice between 2015 and 2019.

He was promoted to police chief in 2017.

Spicer’s complaint further claims “the Plaintiff was not selected as Chief of Police because of his race” and accuses the defendants of violating federal and state laws against discrimination.

David Spicer and Marvin Mailey
In his suit, David Spicer (left) claims he was better qualified for the police chief position than Marvin Mailey, who was chosen for the role in 2017. (Photo: Dover Police Department)

Additionally, he cites a 2017 job posting published in the Delaware State News that said a bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree preferred was required for the position. However, Dover city officials insisted the job description was posted by the paper by mistake and that the listing only served as a draft, not an official document, according to WBOC-TV.

Officials finalized the job description the following month, keeping the existing requirements used to hire past police chiefs.

Among those named in the suit are Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, three Dover council members, City Manager Donna Mitchell, and Mailey, who declined to comment on the complaint.

Christiansen, who tapped Mailey for police chief after a recommendation from a selection committee, said officials used the proper process in hiring Mailey as the top cop.

“The process was as pristine as we could make it and council passed it unanimously,” he told WBOC-TV in a phone interview.

According to court documents, Spicer is requesting a jury trial, as well as punitive and compensatory damages. He has since applied for the now-vacant chief position.