I BELIEVE DETECTIVE FRANKLIN SAVAGE’S STORY
Detective Franklin Savage was proud of being a police officer. He started with the Pocomoke City Police Department, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and quickly won appointment as the first ever Black officer to serve on an elite Worcester County task force. But it didn’t take long for Det. Savage to become the target of terrible racial harassment from his white colleagues and superiors.
After Det. Savage’s first big operation with the force, he noticed he became the butt of racial jokes and ridicule. Before long he began to feel like an outsider to the team. In fact, the white officers created a drawing on a board depicting a “Circle of Trust”, with themselves inside, and Det. Savage on the outskirts, moving further and further outside as time passed.
“I experienced a lot of racism while I working with the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team. Certain questions were always asked of me about African Americans. Like how do you grow your hair? During that time, I had locks. Once they found out what locks were, they looked at me as being dirty and they felt like they had to wipe down door knobs. If I touched something, they would clean it after me. Also, a bloody deer’s tail was left on my car windshield. We thought it was done by a suspect, but it was actually done by one of my coworkers. I was taken to a Klu Klux Klan meeting location, where I was told, ‘Don’t be surprised if you see a noose hanging from a tree.” — Detective Franklin Savage
Detective Savage was not alone in experiencing racial discrimination and harassment from fellow officers. Former Pocomoke City Police Chief Kelvin Sewell and Lieutenant Lynell Green endured racial slurs that were regularly used by Pocomoke City officials to refer to them and other Black officers. They even got anonymous notes warning them to watch their backs.
Chief Sewell was fired in July 2015 after he refused to terminate Detective Savage, who along with Lieutenant Green had filed discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ultimately, both Detective Savage and Chief Sewell were unlawfully fired by local leadership, and Lt Green resigned when he could no longer take the harassment alone. In 2016, they sued local officials for discrimination.
A partial settlement has been reached for Chief Sewell and Lt. Green, which includes a Consent Decree that mandates reform of race discrimination policies and procedures in the PCPD, as well as training for officers and leadership in the department and substantial financial relief for the two officers. But Detective Savage’s case remains unresolved. He is still fighting for justice.
Sign this petition to support Detective Savage. Show that you believe that he experienced serious discrimination based on his race from Worcester County and Pocomoke City officials.