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By James Roxbury
Thursday March 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Senator Vincent Hughes visited the newsroom Wednesday afternoon to discuss the nomination of Marcus Brown as State Police Commissioner, the controversy concerning Brown wearing a PSP uniform, and the racist letter left in a mailbox at Brown's Hampton township home.

Senator Hughes.

I stand behind Marcus Brown.


Letter sent to Governor Wolf.

Governor Tom Wolf

508 Main Capitol Building Harrisburg, PA 17120

Re: Nomination of Acting State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown

Dear Governor Tom Wolf:

The recent report of a racist letter left anonymously at Acting Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown’s home causes me great concern, not only because of the substance (The use of the “N” word) of the letter but also because of the troubled history of the Pennsylvania State Police around the issue of race.

As you know, the Pennsylvania State Police has a poor record regarding issues of racial diversity and hiring practices. It is long and troubling. In fact, a lawsuit was filed and a Federal consent decree was ordered to improve the hiring practices of the agency. The lawsuit was filed in 1974 by William Bolden and resulted in the “Bolden decree” which was in place until 1999.

Here are the facts: After the Federal decree was put into place and there was regular monitoring by a federal judge for over 20 years, diversity among hires increased significantly. In fact, 20 percent of all state troopers were people of color and they served at every level of the state police organization. That caused the decree to be lifted, which resulted in the percentage of non-white troopers to drop down to a dismal 6.25 percent. As of December 1st, 2014, only 280 members of 4,479 state police force were minorities. That is where we stand today. This does not reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania’s population and is a throwback to an era when people of color were shut out of employment opportunities in state government, especially in the fields of law enforcement.

The letter delivered to Mr. Brown's house also harkens back to those times. It also shows that some people who oppose his nomination are motivated by trying to keep the Pennsylvania State Police from becoming more diverse. Clearly, they are scared of Mr. Brown’s history of exemplary success in creating a diverse law enforcement agency in the communities where he has worked.

Needless to say, your support of his candidacy should be unwavering now more than ever. We have a choice. We can stand with someone who is an excellent officer and promotes a diverse and qualified workforce or we can stand with those who promote hate and intolerance through anonymous acts of cowardice. I am choosing to stand with your nominee.


Vincent J. Hughes

State Senator, 7th District

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