DC Cops Say Department Pressured Them To Have Abortions

Police under Dem mayor Marion Barry allegedly ordered women to end pregnancies

D.C. Police assistant chief Chanel Dickerson /
October 21, 2021

Two Washington, D.C., police officers said the police department made them abort their pregnancies to keep their jobs.

Assistant Police Chief Chanel Dickerson, the highest-ranking black woman in the department, said Tuesday that when she was a cadet in 1988 she was told to end her pregnancy or be fired.

"I was told I had to have an abortion or be fired from the [Metropolitan Police Department] cadet program," Dickerson said. "My choice to have a baby was personal and it should've been mine alone and not for an employer ultimatum."

The next day, another officer came forward, telling Fox 5 that while she was in the police academy in 1997 she too was pressured to get an abortion.

"If we were pregnant we needed to get an abortion or we would be fired," Karen Arikpo said. "So later that day, I went and told my class sergeant that I was pregnant. And she said I needed to have an abortion and she referred me to a doctor in D.C. to get it done."

Both alleged incidents took place under the administration of notorious Democratic mayor Marion Barry. Barry was mayor of D.C. from 1979 to 1991, when he went to prison for using crack cocaine during a sting operation. After his release, he was reelected as mayor and served again from 1995 to 1999.

Dickerson is participating in a $100 million lawsuit against the department, joining former cadets who accuse it of abuse and retaliation.