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NJ police officer sues her department, claiming discrimination

HILLSIDE, N.J. — A New Jersey police officer has sued her department, claiming she endured years of racial and gender discrimination.

The civil lawsuit filed by Hillside Sgt. Qiana Brown, who is black, claims she has improperly been denied a promotion to lieutenant. Brown says she earned the second highest score on the department’s promotion test, but four white men have so far been promoted ahead of her.

Brown also claims that supervisors prevented her from pumping breast milk and told her to style her hair like a white officer. NJ.com reports that Brown found a painting of a rat with her badge number on a bathroom wall at police headquarters within a week of her return from maternity leave.

Besides the town and the police department, the suit names Hillside’s police chief, two other high-ranking officers and a former mayor as plaintiffs. Messages seeking comment from the town and the police department were not returned Tuesday.

Brown has worked for the department since 2003. She’s seeking undisclosed damages, back pay and seniority.