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DEA recruits claim racism

(AP) — At the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy in Virginia last year, an instructor on the firing range called out a name that was shared by two trainees, one Black and one white.

When both responded, the white instructor clarified, “I meant the monkey.”

That behavior, as alleged in an internal complaint, didn’t stop there. The instructor also was accused of going on the loudspeaker in the tower of the outdoor firing range to taunt black trainees by making “monkey noises.”

“We were like, ‘It’s 2019. That shouldn’t even be a thing that we’re dealing with,'” said Derek Moise, who did not hear the noises himself but recalled the discomfort they caused his fellow Black trainees who did.

As the DEA continues a decades-long struggle to diversify its ranks, it has received a string of recent complaints describing a culture of racial discrimination at its training academy in which minorities are singled out, derided with insults and consistently held to a higher standard than their white counterparts, according to interviews with former recruits and law enforcement officials and records obtained by The Associated Press.

In one case, a Black recruit was told his skin color made him a surefire candidate for undercover work. In another, a Hispanic woman, chatting in Spanish with a fellow trainee, was admonished to “speak English, you are in the United States.” At least two of the complaints prompted internal DEA investigations, one of which remains ongoing.

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