Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Seventh Circuit Rejects Race Discrimination Claims Against IMPD And IFD

IMPD Chief Rick Hite has bolstered the claims of minority police officers that they are discriminated against in hiring and promotion since becoming police chief, but a U.S. federal district court judge and now the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals have said otherwise. In the latest case, Kendale Adams et al. v. City of Indianapolis, black police officers and firefighters argued that the examination process that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department uses to rank officers for promotion within the respective departments has a disparate impact on black candidates and is intentionally discriminatory. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who dismissed their claims because the plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence that supported their claims, and upheld her order granting the City of Indianapolis summary judgment.

To be sure, there is racial discrimination occurring in Indianapolis' City-County government, but the only cases where a court of law has agreed in recent years that evidence supports that finding has involved discrimination against white police officers in promotion and an African-American county-wide officeholder who overtly discriminated against white employees in his office. Several white police officers prevailed in proving they were discriminated against under a former promotion policy utilized by the department based on a theory of discrimination similar to what the black officers failed to prove in this lawsuit.

There is also the case of the Marion County Coroner's Office under the leadership of former Marion County Coroner Kenneth Ackles, whose policies of racial discrimination were continued by his successor, Dr. Frank Lloyd, despite a spate of lawsuits that cost the city-county government millions of dollars in settlements and legal fees. On two separate occasions, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiffs' contention that white employees had been discriminated against. In Marion County Coroner's Office v. EEOC, the 7th Circuit agreed with an administrative law judge's and an EEOC finding that Ackles had fired his chief deputy, John Linehan, in order to replace him with a black chief deputy to carry out his racially discriminatory hiring practices. In Radentz et al, v. Marion County Coroner's Office, the 7th Circuit reversed a district court order dismissing the claims of two former forensic pathologists who contended they were fired in order that Ackles could replace them with a black forensic pathologist, Dr. Joye Carter. The 7th Circuit found direct evidence of discriminatory intent in the case record to support the plaintiffs' contention.

Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.

No comments: