San Francisco Police Department Captain Yulanda Williams joined the force in 1990, hoping to improve relations between police and minorities. Last May, she sued the city and the Police Department, alleging she’d been targeted by white co-workers and supervisors for speaking out against racism and sexism.

Co-workers harassed Ms. Williams for her Afrocentric hairstyle, according to the complaint, and a supervisor told her she needed to choose the police over her identity as a black person. “Pick a side. You seem confused about this,” the supervisor said, according to the complaint.
Ms. Williams said trying to change the culture in the department was “like trying to turn the Titanic.”

Photographed at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Calif. for The Wall Street Journal.

Text by Ben Chapman.  

Using Format