Michigan DNR Facing Complaints of Racism

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A state investigation of a black conservation agent's complaints found evidence of racism and a culture of oppression and fear in the Department of Natural Resources agency's law enforcement division.
The two-month investigation looked into the treatment of the only black female conservation officer among 10 blacks in the DNR's Law Enforcement Division. The probe concluded that Lt. Linda Copeland-Morgan endured intimidation, exclusion and threatening behavior on the job, including racially offensive references made in her presence or about her.
The Detroit resident is a 27-year veteran of the department, as well as its highest-ranking black conservation officer. She was among four employees who sued the DNR in 1991 claiming racial and sexual discrimination and accepted a $240,000 settlement.
The latest investigation started when Copeland-Morgan wrote Gov. Jennifer Granholm about her treatment.
"I'm trying to make sure that nobody else has to endure what I've endured," Copeland-Morgan told the Lansing State Journal for a story Sunday.
Her September letter to Granholm said she experienced harassment and sabotage while working for the DNR. Granholm replied and expressed regret that Copeland-Morgan had "experienced racial discrimination."
Granholm wrote that she had instructed her staff to take Copeland-Morgan's complaints to DNR Director Rebecca Humphries.
State investigator Cheryl Strayhorn ended her probe Nov. 30. She wrote that there was a "pervasive perception ... of exclusion, avoidance, intimidation and fear" that "serves to ... restrict Lt. Morgan and supervisors, managers and employees from reaching their potential."
Strayhorn specifically accused three DNR managers, who she named. She concluded that one superior acted in a "threatening and intimidating manner" toward Copeland-Morgan.
Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd and DNR spokeswoman Mary Dettloff declined comment on details of the report, saying it remained under review.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Joe Location: Lansing on May 15, 2007 at 10:48 PM
    How is it a black female that has a prejudice herself is the investigator?
  • by Carlos Location: 3rd Planet from the Sun... on May 14, 2007 at 10:05 AM
    Dear Sir, or Madam: Wiser heads than mine have said"there is no Utopia". Having posted that for review, let me say that there is no Utopia in traditional values (subservience, slavery, eugenically-determined social policy, corporate-sponsored lobbying and USURY Laws,etc.,). Remember, as an example, spiritually, legally, moralistically and "rationally", Free Speech also may give you the right to oppress others, and to be a "Bigot". Behold, ..."the center will not hold..."
  • by william Location: lansing on May 14, 2007 at 05:57 AM
    It is not the DNR that is or should be accused of racist remarks, but the individuals who are operation of the department. I feel accusations of racist activities an oversight. Some times, people who are being harassed in such a manner always go to their history roots and accuse every being against their race or religion background. This needs a lid put on it! All problems are Not based on this fact. Most of these cases are just plain stupid people who don't care if they hurt their brothers or sisters, just plain ignorant people who needs to be reprimanded, but NOT the system
  • by Sally A. York Location: Brighton on May 14, 2007 at 04:23 AM
    The DNR isn't the only State or Federal Work place that is practing discrmination, try the Colleges, all forms of State Government and Cities on and on and on. Solution easy, hire on the basis of qualifications period. Most qualified gets the job and be willing to prove it. Not just because of friendship, relationship or any other ship.
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