"It is important to note, that if the plaintiffs are successful in their pending litigation, the court will order the department to 'skip' persons on the 2006 or 2008 promotion lists.
“We believe it is in the best interest of the department, the city, and the community to resolve these issues without further litigation.
“It is important that we affirmatively address the fact, that we have struggled for years to recruit, hire, train, and promote persons that are the best and the brightest, and who reflect the diverse community we serve.”What this means is that the city will now likely face lawsuits again from white police officers who got passed over in promotions because of this decision made on the eve of the election. The city just reached its last settlement in several reverse discrimination lawsuits the county faced as a result of the Coroner's Office's overt discrimination of white employees and contractors in favor of African-Americans. The city will have paid out nearly $1 million in settlements when the dust settles in those cases, in addition to the more than a quarter million dollars it incurred in legal expenses. The labor organization representing the police, the FOP, has publicly stated its opposition to the promotion of the officers. Even the plaintiff's lawyer, Nathaniel Lee, believes the decision to promote the officers is being made simply to win African-American votes in the November election and has indicated he will press forward with his case on behalf of 19 black police officers:
"We have to thank the FOP's endorsement of Melina Kennedy for this because, we're not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, essentially this seems like it is driven by an election,, but it shouldn't be. All of a sudden now the FOP endorses the other candidate because they're dissatisfied with the administration's progress and now we've get settlement overtures. We've been begging to get this settled for over two and a half years." . . .
Late Thursday afternoon Lee sent a letter to Straub thanking him for agreeing to settle the lawsuit, however, "racial discrimination... is a serious problem that you agreed should be corrected. As a result, we cannot and will not dismiss the remaining lawsuit simply for some political advantage."
Lee noted that only 12 of the 19 plaintiffs in the suit will be offered promotions.UPDATE: An observant reader reminds me that the city is also still defending a case brought by several white Indianapolis firefighters who allege that they were discriminated against by IFD because of a promotion policy virtually identical to the promotion policy challenged in the lawsuit the Justice Department brought against IMPD. Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled in favor of the firefighter plaintiffs on a summary judgment motion filed by the city and is allowing their case to proceed to trial.
"We respectfully request that you reconsider this last draconian proposal so the matter can be concluded next Tuesday at the merit meeting."