In June 2009, Debra Hartley, a former police officer, walked 225 miles to Washington from her home in Pennsylvania carrying signs calling attention to discrimination against women in law enforcement. She and some family members were standing on the White House sidewalk with their signs when two Uniformed Division Secret Service officers told them that, as “protesters,” they had to provide their names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, and be added to the list of “crazies who protest in front of the White House.”  Rather than provide such information and be added to that list, they left. Of course there are no such requirements, nor could there be.

Our administrative complaint to the Secret Service hit a dead-end, so we filed suit in July 2012. After two motions to dismiss were denied, the defendants became interested in settlement. The case was settled in March 2014 on terms that included revisions of guidance and further training for Secret Service agents about speech on the White House sidewalk and a government-paid trip to Washington for Ms. Hartley for a face-to-face meeting with the (female) Director of the Secret Service, at which they discussed sex discrimination in law enforcement and Ms. Hartley’s experience at the White House.

Date filed

July 1, 2012