Boston reaches $2.4 million settlement with female police commander over gender discrimination case

Jan 10, 2024, 8:55 AM | Updated: 3:12 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Boston has reached a $2.4 million settlement with a high ranking female police commander who accused the department of gender discrimination, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Beth Donovan, the first woman to reach the rank of deputy superintendent of the police department’s Bureau of Field Services, was demoted to sergeant from deputy superintendent in September 2018. The demotion came after a complaint she filed. She has been kept on administrative leave and medical leave because injuries sustained as a result of discriminatory and retaliatory treatment, her lawyer Nick Carter said.

“Beth Donovan took on the Boston Police Department simply to demand fair treatment as a woman leader there. She is pleased with the result and hopes this helps women who remain at the BPD and those who come after,” Carter said in a statement. “Hopefully with Donovan’s case and some of the other women who have recently been successful in suing for discrimination … the BPD will start to change and women won’t be punished for demanding fair and equal treatment.”

Carter confirmed a formal agreement was still being drafted, as did the city.

“This pending settlement marks the end of a years-long process,” a city spokesman said in a statement. “Under Commissioner (Michael) Cox’s new leadership, we are bolstering more trust within the department and with our community members. Like other large employers and municipalities, the city resolves some claims via settlement.”

Donavan’s troubles started in 2017 after she initiated an internal affairs investigation against a fellow officer and neighbor over a graduation party, according to the Boston Globe, citing court records. Donavan accused the officer of tossing a beer can at her during the party and calling her several profanities.

The investigation prompted retaliation against Donavan, according to the court records, including spreading rumors that she has a drinking problem and taking away some of her deputy superintendent responsibilities.

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Boston reaches $2.4 million settlement with female police commander over gender discrimination case